Multiple Patients Allege Sexual Abuse at Montgomery County Hospital

Multiple Patients Allege Sexual Abuse at Montgomery County Hospital

Prosecutors believe that the ten patients who have come forward so far might be just the tip of the iceberg in an extensive sex abuse operation at Montgomery County Hospital.

Montgomery County police arrested a doctor who works at Advanced Walk-in Urgent Care in Silver Spring on two counts of rape in February. “I want to thank the women that have already come forward for their courage,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “It takes a lot of courage to come forward and to report these things.”

In court Thursday, prosecutors said Malik allegedly locked the exam room door, did not give women gowns to cover themselves, put them in positions where they were scared to protest, and groped them.

This doctor has had legal troubles before. In 2013, the Department of Justice sued him for healthcare fraud and ordered him to pay $17 million. Then in 2019, the Maryland State Board of Physicians suspended his medical license after he was convicted of failing to pay child support.

Furthermore, a Montgomery County family sued him in 2015 for medical malpractice. Marcelle Copaken says her son felt ill and went to see this doctor, who failed to diagnose him with diabetes and gave him a drug that made him sicker.

If you or a loved one was sexually abused by a doctor, nurse, or other hospital employee, you deserve the chance to seek justice. Contact our experienced sexual abuse survivor attorneys today for a free consultation.

Civil Court vs. Criminal Court

Before we break down the various sexual abuse allegations in this case, we should address the differences between civil and criminal courts.

The burden of proof might be the most obvious difference. Prosecutors must prove guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. So, unless a credible witness saw the sexual abuse, the state probably will not have enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

By credible, we mean highly credible. Any inconsistent testimony, such as a slightly different version of events than other witnesses or a slight variance between trial and deposition testimony, usually torpedoes witness credibility.

The burden of proof in a civil claim is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, the credibility standard is not as high. A survivor or other witness could still sway jurors even if their testimony is a little shaky.

Furthermore, circumstantial evidence is often effective in civil court. For example, if an abuser was employed at a church or school at a certain time and the survivor gives a semi-credible account of sexual abuse, that might be enough to obtain compensation.

This compensation includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Financial compensation is also at the heart of a civil action. A personal injury attorney files a civil action not to punish the tortfeasor (negligent actor) but to obtain compensation for the survivor. Criminal courts, on the other hand, do not compensate survivors at all, at least in most cases.

Betrayal of Trust Sexual Abuse

Most of the sex abuse cases our legal team handles are a betrayal of trust sex abuse cases, such as a doctor and patient or a teacher and student. These survivors are extremely reluctant to come forward. That’s the main reason Maryland lawmakers recently abolished the statute of limitations in most sex abuse civil cases.=

Many of these survivors do not remember exactly what happened. Medical patients are often under anesthesia. Furthermore, the brain usually blocks traumatic memories. Since their recollection is fuzzy, they remain in the shadows.

But remember that the burden of proof in a civil case is only a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, even if the survivor cannot put all the pieces of the puzzle together, a personal injury attorney can usually obtain maximum compensation.

Additionally, many betrayal-of-trust victims think other people will not believe them. After all, in most cases, if it is a child’s word against an adult’s word, almost no one believes the child.

That belief might be true in ordinary circumstances. But a powerful advocate, like an experienced personal injury attorney, legitimizes the survivor’s claim. Jurors reason that if the layer believes the child, they should at least consider the child’s side of the story. These feelings are even stronger since the child had the courage to come forward and the initiative to partner with a lawyer.

Finally, many of these survivors, especially medical patients, fear retaliation. They are afraid the abuser might stop treating them or worse.

Once again, that belief might be true. Yet overall, fear should never be a key factor in a significant decision. That is a very bad way to go through life.

Types of Sexual Abuse

The three types of sexual abuse in the above story are also three of the most common kinds of sexual abuse in Maryland.

  • False Imprisonment: Locking someone in a room is only the worst form of false imprisonment. Blocking someone’s pathway, like standing in a door frame, is also a form of false imprisonment. Much more indirect actions, like taking someone’s car keys or phone, could also be considered false imprisonment.
  • Forced Exposure: This tort is basically like indecent exposure and forced witnessing of pornography or live sexual acts. In all these cases, abusers use survivors for sexual gratification, and the survivors have no choice in the matter.
  • Unwanted Touching: Essentially, common-law battery is a harmful or offensive touch. Most battery cases focus on the “harmful” element, which is usually physical harm. Unconsented sexual touching may not be physically harmful, but it is emotionally harmful. It is also definitely offensive.

Other kinds of sexual abuse not yet mentioned but still common in Maryland include verbal abuse and quid pro quo (this-for-that) workplace sexual harassment.

Prior Bad Acts in Sex Abuse Cases

Rule of Evidence 404 strictly limits the use of prior bad acts, like failing to pay child support and a medical malpractice suit, in a sex abuse or any other court case. 

The law is quite clear that jurors must decide if the defendant committed a crime or tort, not if the defendant is a bad person. Therefore, character evidence is usually inadmissible, at least at the trial phase. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to use the back door.

Under this rule, prior bad acts are admissible to prove “motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident.” Then, if jurors happen to conclude that the defendant is a bad person, they may do so.

Prior legal actions are usually admissible to prove one or more of the aforementioned items. For example, a personal injury lawyer could use the child support action to prove that this defendant is the correct defendant. The prior malpractice suit could be admissible for the same reason.

In terms of character, many people may overlook a medical malpractice lawsuit as a one-off “accident.” However, most people hate “deadbeat dads.”

Incidentally, character evidence, both positive and negative, is usually admissible at the sentencing or damages portion of a criminal or civil trial.

Speak with a Compassionate Sexual Abuse Survivor Lawyer

Survivors of sexual abuse deserve to be heard. They deserve to have their stories told and believed should they be ready to talk. They are also entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced sexual abuse survivor lawyer, contact The Yost Legal Group: 1-800-967-8529. Attorneys can connect survivors with doctors and therapists, even if they have no insurance or money.