Doctor, Nurse, & Medical Professional Abuse

Working for Survivors of Doctor and Other Medical Professional Abuse

We hold doctors, nurses and staff accountable for sexual abuse of children.

Doctors, nurses, and other staff many times have unsupervised interaction with children. Similar to teachers, coaches, and clergy, they have a duty to protect the children that are under their care. Sometimes these medical professionals use their position and access to harm the very individuals that are under their care.

One such case hospital sexual abuse case was Dr. George Reardon, a Physician at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, who sexually abused hundreds of children in the Hospital during his Growth Study examinations. 60,000 pornographic images of children were found in the wall of his former home. This case is extremely significant not only due to the number of images and victims, but also by the decision of Connecticut’s Supreme Court.

On July 16, 2013, Connecticut’s highest court released the landmark decision of Tim Doe v. St. Francis Hospital. Tim Doe was sexually abused from 1968-1972, as a boy, by Dr. George Reardon, a physician at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. We filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tim and we tried the case in 2011 to a jury which awarded Tim $2.75 million against the hospital. Tim’s joy was short lived as the hospital filed an appeal. However, after waiting almost two years, Tim’s victory was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

This Supreme Court decision is significant not only for Tim but for all persons who have been sexually abused. In the decision the Court found that any employer, including a hospital, can be held responsible where one of its employees sexually abuses a child and the employer should have known what was going on. In addition, the Court affirmed that when a company, a school, a church or anyone else has custody of a child, that they must take steps to protect the child from harm. It is not enough for the employer to say, “I did not know my employee was sexually abusing children.” Steps have to be taken by the employer to protect that child.

We could not be happier about the decision as it brings added protection to children to prevent them from being sexually abused. Twenty years ago, Tremont & Sheldon, P.C. became one of the first firms in Connecticut to represent victims of sexual abuse and since that time, we have represented well over one hundred victims. By taking Tim’s case all the way to the Supreme Court and prevailing, we continue to be a leader in the field of representing victims. However, we are also making the world safer for all of our children.

Please click here to read more about the Dr. George Reardon and St. Francis Hospital case and timeline..


Online Resources - Victim Support Groups for Child Sexual Abuse

  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse – Individual and group support program for adult survivors of physical, sexual, and/or emotional child abuse or neglect.
  • Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. – CONNSACS is a statewide coalition of individual sexual assault crisis programs, which work to end sexual violence through victim assistance, community education, and public policy advocacy.
  • Wounded Healer – TWHJ is the oldest point of presence on the Web for psychotherapists and others who have experienced the devastation of trauma including child abuse.
  • The Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Program – The mission of the SCAN Program is to provide comprehensive medical and psychosocial care in a culturally sensitive manner to children who have experienced acute sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect.
  • Yale New Haven Hospital Child Sexual Abuse Program – The Yale Child Abuse Program provides evaluation and treatment of all types of child maltreatment.

Common Questions About Hospital Abuse

  • I do not want my identity revealed. Is there a way that I can file a claim and remain anonymous?
  • You can ask permission from the Court to file your case under a pseudonym (e.g., Jane Doe or John Doe). It is up to the judge to grant or deny your request.

     

  • If there is a criminal case presently pending against the perpetrator, can I still file a civil suit?
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    Yes. The two cases can proceed at the same time, but there may be reasons to wait, if possible, until the criminal case has concluded.

     

  • What is the difference between criminal and civil cases? Is there a different burden of proof?
  • Many people know that the burden of proof (or evidence needed to prove the case) in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal cases require a very high standard because being found guilty of a crime is at stake as well as the potential to go to jail. In a civil case, no one is accused of a crime and cannot be found guilty. Instead, the question in a civil case is whether a person was negligent and responsible for damages to another. The burden of proof in a civil case, for example a motor vehicle accident, is lower (easier to prove) than in a criminal case. The standard is “more likely than not” the person was at fault or proof of just over 50% to win the case.

     

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  • What is the statute of limitations with regard to filing a sexual abuse claim?
  • Under current Connecticut law, any person who claims damages as a result of being sexually abused, sexually assaulted, or sexually exploited as a child has until 30 years past the age of majority (typically until age 48) in which to file a claim in court. However, if you claim damages as a result of being sexually assaulted as an adult, then you have a much shorter time period in which to file a lawsuit. Typically you have three years from the date of the assault to file against the perpetrator for his or her intentional acts and two years from the date of the assault to file against any other person or entity (e.g., perpetrator's employer) who may have been negligent in allowing the perpetrator to have contact with you.

  • Who are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse?
  • Under Connecticut law, the following people are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse: doctors, nurses, medical examiners, dentists, dental hygienists, psychologists, coaches, school teachers, school principals, school guidance counselors, school paraprofessionals, social workers, police officers, juvenile or adult probation and /or parole officers, members of the clergy, pharmacists, physical therapists, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, mental health professionals, physician’s assistants, certified EMT providers, certified drug and alcohol counselors, licensed marital and family therapists, sexual assault and/or battered women’s counselors, paid child care providers in public or private facilities, child day care centers, licensed group and /or family day care centers, employees of the Department of Children and Families or the Department of Public Health if responsible for licensing day care centers homes or youth camps or the Office of Child Advocate and the Child Advocate.

    Any person so identified who in the course of his or her employment or profession has reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or has been inflicted with nonaccidental injuries or is at imminent risk of serious harm must report or cause a report to be made in accordance with state law. Violation of the law will result in a monetary fine and required participation in an educational and training program. See Connecticut General Statutes Sections 17-101(b); 17a-101a.

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