A former Veterans Affairs Doctor in West Virginia, Jonathan Yates, has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting veteran patients.
"According to the plea documents, Yates rubbed the genitals of two veterans and digitally penetrated a third veteran’s rectum under the guise of legitimate medicine, when in fact he acted without a legitimate medical purpose. This conduct, performed while Yates was acting under color of law in his capacity as a VA physician and a federal employee, deprived the veterans of their constitutional right to bodily integrity and caused them pain. According to the plea documents, the veterans had sought treatment from Yates to manage chronic pain through osteopathic manipulative therapy. Several veterans addressed the court at sentencing, describing the trauma and mental anguish that Yates had caused them. Yates surrendered his medical licenses as a condition of his plea agreement," the Department of Justice released in a statement Monday.
A number of law enforcement officials who worked on the case had harsh words for Yates.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gregory B. Friel of the Civil Rights Division:
“The sentence today reflects the seriousness of this defendant’s misconduct. In a despicable betrayal of his oath, he used his specialized medical knowledge and expertise to sexually abuse his own patients. He has now been held accountable”
“It is a testament to the bravery of our veterans that so many came forward to bring this defendant to justice.”
U.S. Attorney Michael Stuart for the Southern District of West Virginia:
“Military veterans who serve and sacrifice to protect our nation deserve only the best of care. Yates betrayed his oath as a physician and the veterans under his care."
"Today, Yates has been called to account for his heinous acts. While his prison sentence will not undo the significant harm Yates inflicted on the victims, we hope that it will ease their pain. I want to commend the incredible work of the FBI and the Department of Veterans Affairs-OIG in this investigation. I also want to thank the victims and their families for their unwavering support during the prosecution of this case.”
FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman:
“Yates committed hideous crimes in a hospital room, which should be a sanctuary for patients."
“The facts of this case are disgusting and these patients and their families deserved better care. While today’s sentence won’t take away what happened to these patients who dedicated their lives in service to our nation, Yates will never be able to hurt anyone again. Hopefully, this will serve as justice for his victims.”
VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal:
“This sentence is the culmination of the exceptional work of the Office of the Inspector General special agents and our law enforcement partners."
"Our thoughts are with the veterans who suffered horrific abuse by a doctor entrusted with their care, and we remain vigilant in our efforts to keep all VA patients safe from harm.”