A former doctor of osteopathic medicine who worked at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia has pleaded guilty to three counts of depriving veterans of their civil rights under color of law by sexually abusing them.
Jonathan Yates, 51, of Bluefield, Virginia, was previously indicted on five counts of depriving veterans of their civil rights under color of law and two counts of abusive sexual contact.
According to an announcement from the Justice Department, Yates admitted in a plea hearing that he had engaged in abusive sexual contact with the veterans who had sought treatment to manage chronic pain. In all three instances, the unwanted contact was done “without a legitimate medical purpose” and “deprived the veterans of their constitutional right to bodily integrity and caused them pain.”
“What occurred at the Beckley VA Medical Center is particularly despicable because this abuse was at the hands of a doctor who was entrusted with providing compassionate and supportive care to veterans,” said VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal. “The result today was due to the tireless and dedicated efforts of the VA OIG investigators and our law enforcement partners. This doctor will no longer be able to prey on the trust of those who have dedicated their lives in service to our nation.”
Yates faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for January 4, 2021.