View Full Version : Prison doctor charged with sex abuse


danielle
05-17-2003, 10:55 AM
Prison doctor charged with sex abuse
By Toni Heinzl
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

FORT WORTH - A federal grand jury has indicted a staff physician at the Federal Bureau of Prisons on charges of having sexual intercourse with three inmates at Fort Worth's federal prison for women.

The indictment, made public Thursday, charges Dr. Carlos Baez with three counts of "sexual abuse of a ward" involving inmates under his "custodial, supervisory and disciplinary authority" between November 2002 and January 2003.

Citing privacy rules, prison officials declined to say whether the women were the doctor's patients.

"I could not say whether they were his patients, but as a medical officer he would have been in a position to see a great number of inmates for a variety of medical conditions," said Kathryn Tracy, a spokeswoman for the prison bureau in Dallas.

The offenses Baez is charged with would violate not only federal law but also bureau policy banning sexual contact between staff and inmates. An executive with the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States said a doctor having a sexual relationship with a patient violates the patient's trust and most likely would lose his license if found guilty.

Baez was hired by the prison bureau on Dec. 2, 2001, as a medical officer at Federal Medical Center Carswell and resigned March 21. His annual salary was $122,746.

The case was investigated by the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General, Tracy said. She declined to comment on when and how officials learned of the alleged offenses.

The three women involved, ages 25, 33 and 39, continue to serve their sentences at FMC Carswell.

One is scheduled to be released in June; the others are scheduled for release in 2013 and 2006, respectively.

The Star-Telegram normally does not identify victims of sexual offenses.

"We look very seriously at any allegations of sexual misconduct," Tracy said. "There is not such a thing as consensual sex between staff and inmates."

The prison bureau adheres to a policy seeking to prevent sexual abuse, a policy that is part of the mandatory training for new employees, Tracy said.

On the other hand, the prison also provides treatment and counseling for victims, she said.

Bureau policy also mandates that a female attendant be present when a male doctor performs breast or pelvic examinations at the prison, Tracy said.

Ethical guidelines regarding sexual boundaries between physicians and patients are almost uniform across the country.

"The standards in general are that any sort of sexual contact between physicians and patients is unprofessional and unacceptable," said Dale Austin, senior vice president of the federation of medical boards.

State medical boards can conduct their own investigations parallel to other state or federal probes of physician misconduct and can take disciplinary action before a physician is found guilty in a court of law, Austin said.

Sexual boundary issues go to the core of professional integrity, he said.

"It's an unequal relationship," Austin said. "The patient is placed in the trust of the caregiver, who has a good deal of influence and authority over that patient. To venture into a sexual relationship is an abuse of that trust because patients want their physicians to treat them, like them, provide medicine."

The Federation of State Medical Boards does not keep statistics on sexual boundary violations, but Austin said such incidents are far less frequent than allegations of malpractice, substance abuse and prescription violations.

If convicted, Baez could face up to one year in prison for each count. The offense is a misdemeanor.

Baez could not be reached to comment Friday. His last known phone number had been disconnected, and according to court records, he has not retained an attorney.

softheart
05-17-2003, 11:00 AM
I don't read anything about the possibilty of any prison time, just losing his job. Figures I guess I just don't get it.

softie

danielle
05-17-2003, 11:04 AM
Originally posted by danielle

If convicted, Baez could face up to one year in prison for each count. The offense is a misdemeanor.



Guess you missed that line! :)

It's just sad and sickening - I wonder if there's other victims too afraid to come forward or who have already been released?

softheart
05-17-2003, 12:05 PM
Thanks Monica I did miss that line, I guess I was so sick after starting to read it, or I need some more coffee..:) I am sure there are more as you said that are afraid to come forward. I can't believe he could possibly only get a year for each count. My money is on he doesn't get any time.

It all makes me sick.

softie