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Doctor-Patient Sexual Assault: Seeking Justice in North Carolina

Gene Riddle   |  February 6, 2019   |  

UPDATE: As of 2/13/19, WRAL reports that more sexual assault charges have been filed against Wilmington, NC oral surgeon Michael Lee Hasson. If you or a loved one are a victim of sexual assault, you deserve justice. Contact Riddle & Brantley for a free, 100% confidential case review.

 

Recently, a Wilmington, North Carolina oral surgeon was charged with sexually assaulting unconscious patients.  Michael Lee Hasson, 55, was charged with three counts of sexual battery and one count of second-degree forcible sex offense. Hasson is accused of assaulting four patients since 2017, all women between the ages of 17 and 21 years old.  Mr. Hasson remains in a New Hanover County jail and is under a $1.25 million bond.  The charges are still pending while police try to determine if there are any more victims.  This is eye opening and alarming news.

The Facts About Doctor-Patient Sexual Assault

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 7 out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.  It could be a relative, a date, a spouse, but a doctor?  RAINN and Women’s Health Magazine surveyed around 500 women and found reports of sexual misconduct by a doctor was reported by 27 percent of these women.  The sexual misconduct ranged from inappropriate touching and sexual comments to rape during an exam.

We expect doctors to live by the golden rule of good medical ethics.  Understand that most doctors are very caring and ethically moral people.  However, the reality is that sexual abuse by doctors/physicians does occur and their victims may suffer years of physical and emotional distress.  Sometimes the doctors go unpunished.   The aftershock of sexual abuse by a doctor may lead to depression, sleep disorders, focus and memory problems, trust issues with doctors, and issues with alcohol and drugs.  How do you protect yourself from white-coat crimes?

Justice for Victims of Doctor-Patient Sexual Assault

The fact is, by law, the medical board can’t act against a doctor on allegations alone.  The board must act based on evidence, and evidence takes time to collect.  In some cases, the board may suspend a physician’s license before an investigation is complete.  However, in cases like this there must be rock solid evidence.

Sexual assault is a horrifying as well as heartbreaking experience.  It may bring up many emotions, including fear, guilt, confusion and shame.  It is important to understand it is not your fault.

If you were a victim of sexual assault, North Carolina does have an avenue for justice.  In North Carolina there is no statute of limitations for criminal charges against the person who sexually assaulted you.  However, the statute of limitations for civil action is 3 years in most cases, the exception being a victim’s disability or age.

North Carolina Attorneys for Sexual Assault

If you or a loved one is the victim of a doctor’s sexual assault, a sexual assault attorney may be able to help.  The attorneys at Riddle & Brantley law firm will compassionately listen to your account of what happened and let you know if you have a case.  We will aggressively protect your rights and well-being and try to play a critical role in your healing process.

For a free, 100% confidential consultation with a North Carolina sexual assault attorney, please complete the form below.