Charleston, VA- Sexual harassment and assault complaints are beginning to mount against the Hope Clinic and Dr. John Pellegrini, who is facing dozens of lawsuits.
Last month, five of Pellegrini’s patients filed separate lawsuits in which they accused the doctor of sexual harassment, battery, assault, negligence, and infliction of emotional distress, according to the West Virginia Record.
Carista Click, Kathy Keen, Michelle Dalton, Cheryl Bragg and Elisha Riffe are all seeking an unspecified amount of compensation for the abuse they say they suffered while in Dr. Pelligrini’s examining room.
Click said in her lawsuit during a visit to Dr. Pellegrini’s office, he began massaging her back and rubbing his genitals against her back to achieve orgasm. Click’s lawsuit states she suffered emotional distress as a result.
The other lawsuits contain similar allegations; under the guise of examining his patients, the doctor would touch them inappropriately and would stimulate of press his genitals against the women. On some occasions he would ejaculate.
These five lawsuits represent the latest round of legal actions alleging similar conduct. Since 2010 Dr. Pellegrini has faced dozens of suits alleging sexual harassment and assault. In July of 2010, twenty women from Wayne County filed lawsuits against the doctor alleging sexual harassment. Pellegrini worked at the Larkin Correctional Center at the time.
After that spate of lawsuits, in November of 2012, the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine suspended Pellegrini’s license, the West Virginia Record reported. The “WVBOM order found probable cause to believe that Pellegrini engaged in unprofessional and unethical conduct,” the Register reported. The Board also issued a Statement of Charges which stated Pellegrini “committed repeated acts of an unethical exercise of influence within a doctor-patient relationship for the purpose of engaging a patient in sexual activity.”
Dr. Pellegrini’s license was suspended because the Board felt he would continue to abuse his authority and would abuse future patients.
In addition to naming Dr. Pellegrini and the Hope Clinic, the lawsuit also names The ERX Group LLC, PMP Services Inc. and John Doe. The plaintiffs allege the defendants hired Pellegrini without thoroughly researching his background.
In addition the numerous sexual assault and harassment complaints, Dr. Pellegrini was the subject of a medical malpractice suit. In 2001, he was accused of performing an unnecessary hysterectomy on a patient.
It is surprising Dr. Pelligrini was still practicing medicine considering that his license was suspended, and he had a long-running pattern of inappropriate behavior with his patients. Even though he had previously been disciplined for his egregious misconduct, he was given another chance where he went on sexually abuse more women.
Hopefully the latest round of lawsuits will keep Pellegrini from seeing and abusing anymore of his patients. If there was just one report or even two reports of sexual harassment, the doctor should be given the benefit of the doubt, but when that many women come forward with the same allegations, Pellegrini should no longer be given access to female patients.