NewsTeam 10 Investigates


Claims of sex assault at Carmel Valley eating disorder clinic

Eating disorder clinic assault alleged victim
Posted at 2:56 PM, Aug 04, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A young woman is accusing a local doctor of sexually assaulting her while she was a patient at a Carmel Valley eating disorder clinic. The doctor's attorney denied any wrongdoing, but the patient told ABC 10News that he ignored her cries to stop.

After suffering repeated loss in her life, "Kelly" developed severe anorexia to cope with pain. ABC 10News is not using her real name since she claims to be a victim of sexual assault.

"I stopped eating completely and I got down to a very scary weight," she told ABC 10News.

According to the civil complaint filed in May of 2021, she checked into the Center for Discovery in Carmel Valley. That's where she said that her doctor abused her. ABC 10News is not naming him because he has not been criminally charged. He denies her story.

"I was telling him to stop, repeatedly," she stated.

The complaint reads that after going in for an exam, she was escorted to a room where “the nurse left, closing the door behind her”.

It reads that she was "alone" with the doctor who was in "flip-flops and was not wearing a name tag".

After getting her history, the complaint reads that he escorted her to a bathroom with a doctor's table in it. It states that "there was no female chaperone in the room".

Attorney Jessica Pride is representing the young woman.

"Anytime a woman is going to have an examination of her private parts, there needs to be a female chaperone in the room," Pride told ABC 10News.

After she laid down, the suit reveals that without her permission, he "began touching [her] without saying anything".

"I was frozen. My whole body froze," she stated.

Using his hand, the complaint states he "penetrated her" with his "gloved right hand while his left hand was pinning her leg to the table".

It reads that she had "stabbing pain" and "repeatedly said, 'stop' and, 'don't touch me'".

She said that she didn't have immediate access to her cell phone due to facility rules. She added that she sat in her thoughts for the next two days.

Then she told ABC 10News that she called a friend who called the police.

ABC 10News requested a copy of San Diego Police Department's report. The City of San Diego replied that the report is being withheld, citing in part that it's exempt from disclosure because of a law enforcement investigation.

The young woman's attorney provided ABC 10News with a copy of SDPD's report, where an officer took statements from two employees. Both employees stated that they were not at the clinic on the day of the alleged attack. The documents provided by the attorney do not include any indication that the officer interviewed the doctor. The officer wrote that the young woman declined a sexual assault exam.

SDPD confirmed that it submitted the case to the District Attorney’s Office, which confirmed that it’s reviewing the case.

The lawsuit names the Center for Discovery and alleges negligent hiring and supervision. Court records show the both the Center for Discovery and the doctor have filed denials of the allegations.

The attorney for the Center for Discovery declined an interview but sent the following statement.

"In its 25 years providing treatment, Center for Discovery has helped thousands of people on the path to recovery from eating disorders. That said, it is our policy not to comment regarding ongoing litigation."

The clinic's website reveals that the company has 50 treatment centers in 14 states.

"They've been in business for about 25 years. They have facilities across the country. They should have had better policies and procedures in place to have prevented something like this," added Pride.

The doctor's attorney also declined an interview but sent the following statement.

"[The doctor] has been a pillar of excellence in patient care in our community for over thirty years. He has a stellar record of patient care. We look forward to revealing the falseness of these allegations through the truth-seeking process that our judicial system provides."

Records on the Medical Board of California's website reveal a history of disciplinary action. He was publicly reprimanded in 2020 for negligence in caring for a different patient.

"If he has hurt anybody else, I don't want them to be afraid to come forward," added the young woman.

A jury trial is scheduled for March of next year.