Former VA doctor arrested, accused of sexually molesting veteran during medical exam

Abbie Bennett
April 03, 2020 - 1:18 pm
Group of doctors in a hurry down the hospital hallway

Photo credit: stock photo/Getty Images/ sudok1

A former Department of Veterans Affairs doctor was arrested for allegedly sexually molesting a veteran during a medical exam, according to the Justice Department.

Jonathan Yates, 51, who worked as a doctor of osteopathic medicine at the Beckley, West Virginia VA medical center, was arrested Thursday by FBI agents and the VA Office of the Inspector General. 

While working at the VA hospital in February 2019, Yates examined a veteran and during that examination, he allegedly molested the veteran, according to DoJ. The veteran was not identified. 

"Yates caused Veteran 1 severe pain and numbness and temporarily incapacitated him by cracking his neck after Veteran 1 had explicitly requested Yates not crack his neck," DoJ said in a news release about the arrest. "While Veteran 1 was incapacitated, Yates sexually molested Veteran 1 again." 

The attack constituted a breach of the veteran's civil rights, according to DoJ, depriving him of "his constitutional right to bodily integrity." 

The charges against Yates carry the possibility of life in prison. 

Sara Yoke, public affairs officer for the Beckley VA Medical Center told Connecting Vets in a statement Friday that "as soon as (the hospital) discovered these allegations, we immediately brought them to the attention of the VA's independent inspector general on June 12, 2019." 

One month later, VA fired Yates, Yoke said. 

"VA has made clear it will hold employees accountable when they fail to live up to the high standards veterans and taxpayers expect, and that’s exactly what happened in this case," Yoke said. "This is an isolated incident and as the independent IG said, the facility 'has taken steps to ensure the immediate safety of its patients.'"

The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI. 

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