Accused of sexually abusing a patient, a doctor of osteopathic medicine who formerly worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia, has recently been charged with depriving a veteran of his civil rights under color of law.
In February 2019, a 42-year-old U.S. Army veteran suffering from “service-connected disability” was examined by Dr. Jonathan Yates at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley. According to the criminal complaint, the patient told Dr. Yates that he wanted a referral to continue massage therapy for chronic pain.
Yates allegedly locked the door and ordered the patient to undress. While making inappropriate comments, Yates reportedly massaged the patient which caused him more pain.
“I again asked him what this was for, and told him the pain was getting worse,” the patient said. Yates “again tried to reassure me that this was what he needed to do, and that I should relax.”
Although the patient asked Yates not to crack his neck, the doctor allegedly cracked the patient’s neck which caused the patient to become temporarily incapacitated and go into shock.
The veteran said Yates later pulled his boxers down and started grabbing his private parts to the point of pain. He said the doctor continued despite being told to stop.
“I walked to my car as fast as I could, despite my pain,” the patient recalled. “I went to the gas station bathroom and used multiple sanitary wipes because I felt dirty after that encounter.”
Several other witnesses came forward, including a doctor who worked directly with Yates. According to the complaint, the doctor stated that Yates told him, “I’m not able to explore the things I’d like to with some of the guys because I’m a married man and my wife wouldn’t understand.”
At least two other veterans have reportedly accused Yates of abusing them in similar manners.
On Thursday, Yates was arrested at his home and charged with deprivation of rights under color of law. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.