The VA is investigating allegations that one of its physicians sexually assaulted 'more than a dozen' patients

news

Beckley VA Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia.

VA

A Veterans Affairs medical center in West Virginia is being investigated over allegations that one of its physicians sexually assaulted more than a dozen patients.


The VA Office of Inspector General is working with federal law enforcement to investigate allegations of sexual assault at the Beckley VA Medical Center, according to a statement put out by the IG on Monday.

"As is always the case, the VA OIG takes seriously any allegation calling into question the care of veterans. The facility is aware of these allegations and has taken steps to ensure the immediate safety of its patients. At this time, we cannot comment further on this investigation.

The allegations were first reported on Sept. 2 by WVVA, a local NBC news affiliate, which spoke with a patient under the condition of anonymity who claimed he was one of more than a dozen veterans who were sexually assaulted by a physician at the Beckley VA Medical Center.

A spokesperson for the Beckley Medical Center did not deny the allegations to WVVA, and confirmed that the individual accused of the assaults "is no longer employed by the VA."

After this article's publication, Sara Yoke, a spokeswoman for the Beckley VA Medical Center told Task & Purpose "these are serious allegations, which the Beckley VA Medical Center reported to the department's independent inspector general on June 12. Additionally, Beckley VAMC fired this individual."

"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. "Justice is now dependent on the independent IG's investigation."

A number of state lawmakers and attorneys have weighed in over the last several days.

"My office has been made aware of the sexual assault allegations at the Beckley VAMC," Mike Stuart, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia said in a Sept. 6 statement. "My office takes these allegations very seriously and is working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to ensure this matter is investigated thoroughly and quickly."

On Sept. 2, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R-W. Va.) commented on the ongoing investigation:

"Our veterans need to feel safe and cared for at our VA hospitals," she said in a statement to WVVA. "No one should live in fear of being attacked or feel as though they are unsafe — especially in this way and in a place like one of our VA facilities. I am horrified and disgusted by the news coming out of the Beckley VA. This should have never happened in the first place, and I am committed to making sure this is fully investigated."

The news comes just weeks after the VA Inspector General's Office announced that it was investigating a string of suspicious deaths at another VA Medical Center in West Virginia, one of which was deemed a homicide.

Update: This story was updated to include a statement from Sara Yoke, a spokeswoman with the Beckley VA Medical Center.

It has been a deadly year for Green Berets, with every active-duty Special Forces Group losing a valued soldier in Afghanistan or Syria.

A total of 12 members of the Army special operations forces community have died in 2019, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. All but one of those soldiers were killed in combat.

In Afghanistan, Army special operators account for 10 of the 17 U.S. troops killed so far this year. Eight of the fallen were Green Berets. Of the other two soldiers, one was attached to the 10th Special Forces Group and the other was a Ranger.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Documents from the Pentagon show that "far more taxpayer funds" were spent by the U.S. military on overnight stays at a Trump resort in Scotland than previously known, two Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday, as they demanded more evidence from the Defense Department as part of their investigation.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the heads of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee and one of it subcommittees said that while initial reports indicated that only one U.S. military crew had stayed at President Donald Trump's Turnberry resort southeast of Glasgow, the Pentagon had now turned over data indicating "more than three dozen separate stays" since Trump moved into the White House.

Read More Show Less
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley from 1979's 'Alien' (20th Century Fox)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

QUANTICO, Va. -- Marines who spend much of their day lifting hefty ammunition or moving pallets full of gear could soon get a helping hand.

The Marine Corps is close to signing a deal to test an exoskeleton prototype that can help a single person move as much as several leathernecks combined.

Read More Show Less
NEC Corp.'s machine with propellers hovers at the company's facility in Abiko near Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. The Japanese electronics maker showed a "flying car," a large drone-like machine with four propellers that hovered steadily for about a minute. (Associated Press/Koji Sasahara

'Agility Prime' sounds like a revolutionary new video streaming service, or a parkour-themed workout regimen, or Transformers-inspired niche porno venture.

But no, it's the name of the Air Force's nascent effort to replace the V-22 Osprey with a militarized flying car — and it's set to take off sooner than you think.

Read More Show Less
In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)

Task & Purpose is looking for a dynamic social media editor to join our team.

Our ideal candidate is an enthusiastic self-starter who can handle a variety of tasks without breaking a sweat. He or she will own our brand's social coverage while working full-time alongside our team of journalists and video producers, posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (feed, stories, and IGTV), YouTube, and elsewhere.

Read More Show Less