A former sports doctor who practiced in the St. Louis area has pleaded guilty to additional charges of sexually abusing patients at two different offices in St. Louis County.
40-year-old Howard Orson Setzer has pleaded guilty to two felony counts of sodomy, four misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse, and four misdemeanor counts of assault. These charges come in addition to a July guilty plea in which Setzer admitted to fondling women at his office in O'Fallon, Missouri and billing insurance companies for treatment. He was sentenced to 5 years probation for those charges.
Investigators say that Setzer abused at least 7 women by touching them inappropriately and rubbing his genitals against a patient's hand. The incidents of abuse allegedly occurred at the Richmond Heights and Creve Couer offices of Mid County Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.
Setzer's sentencing is scheduled for December 3.
Attorney contributor Reed Martens helps survivors of sexual violence fight for justice in civil court. We've asked him to share his perspective on the legal rights of those who have been sexually assaulted by doctors and other medical professionals:
Medical professionals are some of the most respected and trusted members of our communities. We all trust that our doctors and nurses will provide us with the best quality of care possible and treat us with respect. But unfortunately, a minority of doctors are sexual predators who use their positions of trust as a means to sexually assault innocent patients.
Doctor sexual assault is a nationwide crisis. According to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reports of sexual abuse have been found in every state. Furthermore, many of these doctors have not been held accountable for their crimes.
When a patient is sexually assaulted by a doctor, he or she has legal rights. Survivors may have the option to file a lawsuit against the doctor and, in some cases, against their employer as well. In order to have grounds for a lawsuit against a medical facility, your legal team will need to prove that their negligence played a role in the assault.
If you or someone you love has been sexually assaulted by a medical professional, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking to one of our experienced sexual assault survivor lawyers.