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Victims Asked to Come Forward After VA Doctor Charged with Sexually Assaulting Patients

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A Department of Veterans Affairs doctor in Georgia has been indicted over allegations that he sexually assaulted at least four female patients, prosecutors announced this week.

Rajesh Motibhai Patel, a primary care physician at the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur, was charged with multiple counts of violating his patients’ constitutional right to bodily integrity while acting under color of law and for engaging in unwanted sexual contact, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia said in a news release Thursday.

“Our veterans have made incredible sacrifices for our country and deserve the best medical treatment and highest quality of care,” U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan said in a statement. “Patel allegedly sexually abused his female patients and violated his oath to do no harm to patients under his care.”

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Prosecutors allege Patel, 68, assaulted four of his female patients during routine exams in 2019 and 2020, including by groping their breasts and improperly touching their vaginal area, according to the release.

The release included no other details about the case, and a search for the case on the federal court database known as PACER did not immediately turn up results.

Officials believe there may be more victims, according to the release. Prosecutors encouraged anyone with details about Patel or other possible victims to contact the VA’s inspector general’s office, which is taking the lead on investigating the case, at (770) 758-6646.

“Veterans and their families expect and deserve the highest quality of health care delivered in a safe and accountable setting,” VA Inspector General Michael Missal said in a statement. “The VA Office of Inspector General is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of those who entrust their health care to the providers and staff at VA’s 1,200 medical facilities.”

— Rebecca Kheel can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @reporterkheel.

Related: VA Struggles to Curb Harassment of Female Veterans at Medical Centers

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