A former VA doctor was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison for sexually abusing three patients, officials said.
Jonathan Yates, 52, committed the crimes when he worked as a physician at the Beckley VA Medical Center in West Virginia, according to court papers.
He pleaded guilty in September to three felony counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, admitting to having rubbed the genitals of two veterans and digitally penetrating a third when they sought treatment for chronic pain.
“In a despicable betrayal of his oath, he used his specialized medical knowledge and expertise to sexually abuse his own patients,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gregory Friel of the Civil Rights Division, whose office prosecuted the case. “It is a testament to the bravery of our veterans that so many came forward to bring this defendant to justice.”
Yates, who was fired from the medical center, agreed to give up his license to practice medicine as part of the plea deal struck in the Southern District of West Virginia.
In one sick incident, the disgraced doctor molested a patient in the examination room in February 2019.
After locking the door, he asked the veteran to undress then commented, “Boxer briefs — my favorite. Keeps everything tight and in place,” according to the federal complaint.
Yates massaged the patient’s genitals with an ungloved hand before smacking his buttocks.
The married doctor performed osteopathic manipulative therapy at the VA Medical Center, which involves the realignment of joints to relieve pain, according to prosecutors.
His attorney, E. Ward Morgan, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.