WHSV News Report –
Former Veterans Affairs doctor in W.Va. accused of molesting multiple patients
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WHSV) — A doctor who formerly worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia, has been indicted on multiple civil rights charges for allegedly incapacitating and sexually molesting veterans in his care.
A federal grand jury seated in Charleston returned a seven-count indictment against 51-year-old Dr. Jonathan Yates on May 12, charging him with federal civil rights and abusive sexual contact offenses.
Dr. Yates was arrested last month by Special Agents of the FBI and the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, with the assistance of the Bluefield, Virginia Police Department, after details were revealed about an alleged incident that happened while he was working at the VA in February 2019.
Since his arrest, multiple other veterans have come forth to allege similar conduct by the doctor.
As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, Dr. Yates formerly worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia.
While he was there, according to a Department of Justice indictment, between September 2018 and February 2019, he allegedly examined six male patients, identified in the indictment as Veterans One through Six, and sexually molested each of them during their appointments.
According to the indictment, Yates allegedly immobilized two of the veterans – one by cracking his neck after the patient explicitly requested him not do so, causing severe pain and numbness, and the other through the use of acupuncture needles – and sexually molested them while they were incapacitated.
Dr. Yates is also accused of causing five of the veterans bodily injury.
The alleged conduct, performed while he was acting under color of law in his capacity as a federal employee at the VA, deprived Veterans one through Five of their constitutional right to bodily integrity, according to the Justice Department, and knowingly engaged in sexual contact with Veterans Two and Six without their consent.
Yates is charged with five counts of depriving veterans of their civil rights under color of law, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, and two counts of abusive sexual contact, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2244(b).
He was previously charged in a criminal complaint with depriving a veteran of his civil rights under color of law. That charge alone was punishable by up to life in prison.
The Justice Department says the investigation remains ongoing and encourages anyone with additional information about the case against Dr. Yates to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5342).
If convicted, Yates faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, U.S. Attorney Michael B. Stuart for the Southern District of West Virginia, FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel, and Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael J. Missal announced the charges.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Veterans Affairs Police Department. The U.S. Attorney’s Office sought immediate detention in this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel and Trial Attorney Kyle Boynton of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg McVey of the Southern District of West Virginia.
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