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A former Air Force pediatrician, investigated for his receipt of films “directed at adolescent activities and older men with younger boys”, has failed in his bid to get a federal court to order the military to alter his military records.

A former Air Force pediatrician, investigated for his receipt of pornographic films, has failed in his bid to get a federal court to order the military to alter his military records. (Goodrich v. Teets, D.D.C. Civil Action No. 05-391 (CKK), 9/26/07) The facts are as reported by the court which went to great pains to point out that the facts came from the Plaintiff’s (Goodrich) Statement of Material Facts Not in Genuine Dispute. (Opinion p. 2, Note 2)

When his troubles began, Goodrich was on active duty as a Captain assigned to Spangdahlem air base, Germany. He was working as a Board Certified pediatrician with full clinical privileges and served as the Chief of the base adolescent health clinic. (p. 2)

Goodrich ordered nine videotapes from a California company that ended up being intercepted by German Customs officials on suspicion of child pornography “directed at adolescent activities and older men with younger boys.” (p. 2)

The Germans did not press charges against Goodrich, but did report the incident to the Air Force. A search warrant was executed at Goodrich’s residence and all 9 tapes were found. (p. 3)

The Air Force initiated administrative discharge action against Goodrich, citing “moral dereliction” and “sexual perversion.” Goodrich tried to avoid the discharge by resigning and thereby waiving his right to an administrative discharge hearing. He indicated in his letter that he had consulted counsel and his resignation was voluntary. The Air Force accepted his resignation and Goodrich was eventually given a general discharge under honorable conditions. The official discharge certificate (DD Form 214) contained a separation code that indicated a separation related to “sexual perversion.” (pp. 3-4)

While his discharge was pending, the Air Force revoked Goodrich’s clinical privileges for misconduct, following a lengthy review process. Goodrich appealed this decision to the Air Force Surgeon General. A review board recommended that Goodrich be given clinical privileges, but that they be limited “by requiring direct line of sight supervision for patients under the age of eighteen.” (p. 7) The AF Surgeon General adopted this recommendation and reported the limitations on Goodrich’s credentials to other agencies including the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), stating that the action is “to insure the safety and welfare of the pediatric community due to [Goodrich’s] demonstrated prurient interest in homo erotic and pornographic materials which portray individuals as adolescents or in adolescent situations.” (p. 7)

Goodrich petitioned the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR) to have his discharge changed to voluntary separation, honorable, and to delete any mention of misconduct. He separately petitioned the BCMR to change the AF Surgeon General’s report to remove any limitations on his clinical privileges and to purge the system of the reports sent to other agencies. The BCMR denied both petitions and Goodrich filed suit. (p. 9)

The district court has now granted the government’s motion for summary judgment. The court states, “Decisions of the BCMR are afforded an even greater level of deference than civilian administrative agencies because the judiciary is reluctant to interfere with internal military personnel decisions. ” (p. 13; citations omitted.)

Finding no reason to question the BCMR decisions, the court sided with the government. In short, Goodrich has lost this round.

About the Author

Susan McGuire Smith spent most of her federal legal career with NASA, serving as Chief Counsel at Marshall Space Flight Center for 14 years. Her expertise is in government contracts, ethics, and personnel law.