Former VA doctor charged with sexually molesting veteran during medical exam

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Beckley VA Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia.

BLUEFIELD, Va. — A doctor of osteopathic medicine who formerly worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley faces the possibility of life in prison after being charged in a criminal complaint which includes sexually molesting a veteran, the United States Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Dr. Jonathan Yates, 51, was arrested without incident at his home Thursday by Special Agents of the FBI and the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, with the assistance of the Bluefield, Va. Police Department. According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, Yates was scheduled for an initial appearance Thursday in Beckley before U.S. Magistrate Judge Omar Aboulhosn.

An unsecured $10,000 appearance bond and a court order setting conditions of release were docketed after the hearing before Aboulhosn, according to records with the U.S. District Clerk in Beckley. The district clerk had not yet received an order stating whether Yates had been released.

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 charge.

According to the criminal complaint, while working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in February 2019, Yates examined a male patient identified as Veteran 1, and during the examination Yates sexually molested that veteran. Yates caused Veteran 1 severe pain and numbness, and temporarily incapacitated him by cracking his neck, after Veteran 1 had explicitly requested Yates not to crack his neck.

While Veteran 1 was incapacitated, Yates sexually molested Veteran 1 again. This conduct, performed while Yates was acting under color of law in his capacity as a federal employee at the VAMC, deprived Veteran 1 of his constitutional right to bodily integrity, according to the criminal complaint.

Deprivation of rights under color of law, as charged in the complaint, is punishable by up to life in prison.

This investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5342).

The charge contained in the complaint are only allegations, officials with U.S Department of Justice said. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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.

©2020 the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.) - Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.