VICTIMS SAY THEY FEEL LET DOWN BY SYSTEM.
Shea Elder was referred to the Family Planning Medical Clinic in Van Nuys through a friend. Yvette Chambers stumbled on the clinic through a 411 telephone call.
Both were treated at the now-defunct clinic by Dr. Laurence Reich. And both filed complaints with the Osteopathic Medical Board in 2000, accusing Reich of inappropriate sexual contact during those office visits.
Reich pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor sexual exploitation charge in December 2002. Five months later, the board filed a complaint against him, alleging conviction of a crime, gross negligence and sexual misconduct. Twice delayed, an administrative hearing is now scheduled for February.
Although the Daily News does not usually publish the names of victims of sexual crimes, both Elder and Chambers wanted their names included in this story.
Elder was 29 when she visited Reich's clinic on Sept. 25, 1999, seeking to renew her birth-control prescription, according to the complaint filed by the Attorney General's Office.
Her complaint alleges Reich touched her inappropriately, told her she had cervical scarring, and that she should schedule another appointment so he could examine her further.
After the exam, Reich asked for her home phone number, and gave Elder his home, work and pager numbers, according to the complaint. He pushed for the follow-up visit to further examine the scarring, she said.
Instead, Elder followed up with her family physician, who said he found no sign of scarring.
In January 2000, she called the Osteopathic Board. After being told she couldn't file an anonymous complaint, she waited two months, then filed an official complaint.
``If they had taken this seriously from the get-go, if they would have done something earlier, what happened to Yvette wouldn't have happened,'' Elder said.
Chambers visited Reich's clinic for a follow-up exam to an abortion on Feb. 28, 2000, according to her complaint. Chambers alleged Reich performed a breast exam and touched her inappropriately but failed to examine her uterus.
``He took advantage of me, and he did it under the guise of a doctor,'' Chambers said in an interview. ``In a normal setting, I'm 100 percent sure I would have acted different, I would've stopped him. But he's a doctor.''
Both Chambers and Elder said they feel let down by the system.
``This is just one doctor,'' Elder said. ``Is he the only one in California doing this? This has all left me very disappointed.''
Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 713-3669
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Oct 30, 2005|
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