Does proposed law to revoke license of healthcare workers convicted of sex crimes go far enough?
Heather Catallo , Ann Mullen
4:02 PM, Nov 15, 2013
3:32 PM, Nov 18, 2013
(WXYZ) - Proposed legislation is in the works that would permanently revoke the license of any health professional convicted of a sex crime. But if enacted, it will only apply when the healthcare worker victimizes a patient. And that has some victims saying it doesn't go far enough to protect the public.
Jo Ann Naylor testified against her former eye doctor Matthew Burman. A jury convicted Dr. Burman in 2008 of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct landing him on probation for five years. His license was briefly suspended. This is Dr. Burman back to work at one of his three metro-Detroit offices.
"I do not think he should be allowed to practice," says Naylor.
Dr. Burman refused an interview with 7 Action News, but when we asked him about the three women patients who said he touched them inappropriately, Dr. Burman told us, "They made it up."
"When you violate your patients' trust, I think that's when you forfeit your right to use whatever medical talents you have," says Naylor.
But she believes the proposed law should also apply when the victim is not a patient. State Senator Rick Jones,who co-sponsored the bill with Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, agrees.
"If it were up to me, if you were convicted of sexual assault, you would have no license no matter who the victim was," says Jones. "In politics, sometimes you have to go for the compromise. And this is what I've been able to get passed, and I think this is a start."
7 Action News uncovered several cases where the victim of a sex crime was not the doctor's patient.
Audberto Cesar Antonini was a licensed medical doctor, who took part in an Internet sex chat with who he thought was a 13-year-old male, which turned out to be a police sting, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.
He was convicted of child sexually abusive material/activity, court records show.
His license was suspended in 2009, and also lapsed that same year, according to state licensing bureau records.
Antonini is required to be registered as a sex offender for life.
Ross David Miller was a licensed medical doctor, who was convicted in 2009 of attempted criminal sexual conduct for molesting a relative, who was under 13, according to court records.
State licensing records say that he was sentenced to jail for one year and ordered to pay fines.
The state initially put a summary suspension on his license in 2010, and then revoked it. .
Robert Joseph Moore is a licensed chiropractor, who was convicted of attempted 4th degree criminal sexual conduct, according to state licensing bureau records.
Three females between 18 and 20-years-old accused him of fondling their breasts, during pre-employment interviews, state records show.
The state suspended Moore's license and later put him on probation in 2012.
State records currently show that his license status is "disciplinary limited."
"I'm willing to make it tougher," says Jones. "If we go thru this and it still isn't tough enough, we're going to be right back here with some new bills."
The bill was approved in the senate and is waiting for a vote in the house. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has opposed similar legislation in the past, but is not taking a position on this on this bill. The Michigan Society of Medical Professionals (MSMS) voted to support. Asked if they would also support one that applied to non patients, they wouldn't say. You can read the full statement of the MSMS here:
We cannot speculate on the hypothetical situations you're asking about. The Michigan State Medical Society and its members are very clear about putting patient safety first, as well as protecting a patient's relationship with his or her physician. The MSMS Board of Directors did officially vote to support the bill last week, and as it moves forward in the legislative process, we will work with the bill's sponsors to ensure that any changes to the public health code do not unintentionally undermine either of these aforementioned priorities. MSMS has a long history of supporting the integrity, ethics and effectiveness of the Michigan Board of Medicine, and we are supportive of changes that help shore up the Board of Medicine's procedures to help ensure the safety of all Michigan patients.