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Doctor charged with groping 2 patients

By Hetty Chang - NBC Los Angeles - 09/05/2024 - [USA] - [John Carl Hoefs] A 79-year-old physician from Irvine is facing charges of groping two women patients, Orange County prosecutors said Thursday.

Dr. John Carl Hoefs was charged with seven felony counts of sexual battery and is scheduled to be arraigned June 13, prosecutors said. Hoefs was accused of groping the breasts of one patient with a liver condition during five different appointments starting in 2020, and when she tried to cover herself with a gown given to her during the medical visit, he pulled it down again to expose her chest, prosecutors alleged.

"He was treating this patient for a liver condition," Kimberly Edds from the Orange County District Attorney's Office said. "As she tried to cover herself up on each occasion, he insisted her breasts remain exposed for the remainder of the exam."

The doctor was accused of groping another patient's breasts during an exam in November 2016 and during another visit in October 2017, prosecutors alleged. The doctor was arrested Friday and posted $500,000 bond and was released.

Hoefs had privileges with a Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian medical center, which were suspended immediately when officials learned of his arrest. The doctor "operated an independent practice from leased space in a building owned by Hoag,'' Hoag officials said, saying he was "not employed by Hoag or its affiliates."

One Yelp user left a review of the doctor last year, saying Dr. Hoefs "flipped over the gown to expose [her] breasts," urging other women to "stay away from the office." It's not clear whether reviewer was affiliated with the ongoing investigation.

"These women came to someone they believed they could trust as a doctor to treat their medical condition," Edds said. "They relied that he was going to be doing the right thing -- to prevent them from having a serious medical issue and instead he took advantage of that trust and he abused them."

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.


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