According to the Frederick News-Post, a doctor has been suspended after accusations of sexual harassment surfaced. John Vitarello Jr. has been accused of sexual harassment, assault, and propositioning over the course of 10-plus years by one patient and nine female employees.
The Maryland Board of Physicians has suspended Vitarello Jr.’s license. The charges faced are under the Maryland Medical Practice Act; the board charged Vitarello with violating the provisions of the act and including immoral or unprofessional conduct in the medical practice.
The alleged victims described their abuse in interviews with board investigators. Women accused Vitarello of groping them, calling them nicknames, and commenting on their appearances. When women reported Vitarello to higher authorities, they lost their jobs. The investigators on the case suggest that Vitarello got away with his behavior because of his control and influence over the practice and other senior-level personnel.
The practice’s legal counsel allegedly told one female employee not to share her experiences with others. Vitarello allegedly made her fear for her life when he heard she discussed an alleged inappropriate encounter with another employee.
Another victim reported she met Vitarello at a networking event and then met with him privately to discuss opportunities for employment. Later, during an appointment as a patient, the victim reported Vitarello kissed and groped her.
Additional victims outlined their experiences with Vitarello in a 15-page document from the interviews with investigators. Vitarello denies the allegations and believes the investigation is flawed, biased, and violating due process.
Attorney contributor Aaron Blank, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer, works with victims of sexual abuse by doctors. Below Aaron shared insight on the rights of victims who may have been sexually abused by a medical professional.
"Patients and staff trust doctors to carry themselves in a professional manner and treat them with respect. Unfortunately, some doctors have abused their relationships with staff and patients across the country and abused them sexually. Victims abused by a medical professional should know they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against their employer or physician."
"The justice system and Boards of Physicians ensure that doctors and medical professionals act appropriately or are prosecuted for their crimes. Victims of doctor sexual abuse should know if an employer is deemed negligent in abuse, they have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the employer as well as the doctor. Often, sexual abuse occurs as a result of negligence and an employer failing to prevent misconduct. An example of negligence is if previous sexual misconduct was reported but ignored and the doctor was permitted to continue working. In such cases, victims have grounds for a lawsuit and may receive compensation for damages."