Ex-pediatric hospital doctor charged with sex crimes

Ex-pediatric hospital doctor charged with sex crimes

  • US News
  • December 3, 2022
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A former medical director at a Virginia hospital that cares for vulnerable children has been charged with four sex crimes related to abuse that authorities say happened years ago at the facility.

A large jury selected Dr. Daniel N. Davidow of Richmond, a former longtime staffer at Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents, was charged last month, court documents show.

The records were unsealed on Thursday, a local prosecutor said on Friday.

Robert F. Donnelly, an attorney for Davidow, told The Associated Press via email that “we’re still learning details and facts, so we’re not in a position to comment.”

Located in New Kent County, about half an hour east of the state capital, the hospital treats children and young adults with complex medical needs, including chronic illnesses, brain injuries and neurobehavioural disorders.

Virginia State Police have been investigating the hospital’s staff since 2017. The facility is also facing civil lawsuits saying it operated without proper licensing and was “without basic sanitation or humanity,” the facility denies.

The lawsuits and other concerns of patients’ parents about the hospital, highlighted by continued coverage by Richmond television network WTVR, have raised alarms at the highest levels of state government through at least two governorates.

In the civil lawsuits, more than three dozen former patients accuse Davidow of sexually abusing them during physical examinations. In court documents and through an attorney, Davidow has previously denied these allegations.

Kevin Biniazan, an attorney representing the former patients in the civil case, said Friday he has confirmed the charges are linked to allegations by two of his clients.

“The first thing that comes to mind – and probably in the minds of all my clients – is that this has been a long time coming,” he said. “And in many ways, I hope it gives the public and my customers a sense of validation. … They have been challenged on many counts, and I think discouraged in many ways to come forward.”

Neither a lawyer for the hospital nor representatives from its parent company immediately responded to an email inquiry from AP.

Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, confirmed late Friday night that Davidow was in custody at a local jail and was being held without attachment.

He faces two counts of aggravated sexual assault and two counts of sexual penetration of objects, all felonies.

Indictment documents offer little additional detail on the allegations, though they say both victims were children. The documents allege that one victim was molested from March 1, 2018 to April 30, 2018. The other child was molested from mid-October 2017 to December 1, 2017, the documents say.

T. Scott Renick, the New Kent County Commonwealth Attorney, said in a brief statement that the charges were brought in connection with “records of sexual abuse and assault” at the hospital. He said his office would not comment further.

In the case of the two sexual battery charges, the indictment states that Davidow abused the victim through her “mental incapacity or physical helplessness.”

Renick’s small office has been handling charging decisions on the Cumberland Hospital matter since Attorney General Jason Miyares made them earlier this year, surprising some legal observers given the nature and scope of the allegations.

Miyares’ office previously offered a procedural explanation for the course change.

“We are grateful to the New Kent County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for finally seeking the justice our clients deserve,” said Biniazan, the patients’ former attorney. “These charges directly reflect the bravery of our clients and their refusal to be silenced.”

Led by former Attorney General Mark Herring, the office prosecuted two hospital workers.

One, a 72-year-old psychotherapist, was accused of sexually abusing a patient and died by suicide the same day he was due in court for a hearing. The other, a behavioral scientist, was sentenced to a year in prison in December after she made indisputable allegations that she deliberately burned a disabled child with boiling water.

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