Former VA Doctor Sentenced to Prison for Sexually Abusing Veterans

A former VA doctor has been sentenced to prison for pleading guilty to sexually abusing veterans under his care.

A former doctor of osteopathic medicine who previously worked at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia was sentenced to prison on Monday for sexually abusing veterans under his care according to an announcement from the Justice Department.

Jonathan Yates, 52, of Bluefield, Virginia was sentenced to 25 years in prison and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Frank W. Volk. Yates also surrendered his medical licenses as a condition of his plea agreement.

Yates previously pleaded guilty on September 17, 2020, to three felony counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.

According to the plea documents, Yates engaged in unwanted sexual contact with three veterans under the guise of legitimate medicine, when in fact he acted without a legitimate medical purpose. The plea documents further showed that the veterans had sought treatment from Yates to manage chronic pain through osteopathic manipulative therapy. Several veterans addressed the court at sentencing, describing the trauma and mental anguish that Yates had caused them.

“The sentence today reflects the seriousness of this defendant’s misconduct. In a despicable betrayal of his oath, he used his specialized medical knowledge and expertise to sexually abuse his own patients. He has now been held accountable,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gregory B. Friel of the Civil Rights Division. “It is a testament to the bravery of our veterans that so many came forward to bring this defendant to justice.”

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, and the Veterans Affairs Police Department. 

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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