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Dr John Hoefs Charged With Groping Two Patients

Dr. John Hoefs (Full Name: John Carl Hoefs), A Physician Based Out of Irvine, Arrested For Allegedly Sexually Assaulting Two Female Patients

medical professional sexual abuse

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA (May 13, 2024) – A 79-year-old Irvine doctor identified as John Hoefs has been charged with groping two female patients, according to a press release by Orange County Prosecutors.

Orange County officials announced the charges on Thursday. Dr. John Hoefs is accused of groping the breasts of one of his patients with a liver condition during five appointments that started in 2020. Prosecutors allege that the doctor pulled the patient’s gown down to expose her breasts. 

The defendant is also accused of groping the breasts of a second patient during one exam in 2016 and another in 2017. Dr. John Hoefs’ privileges with Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian medical center were suspended after they learned of his arrest.

There are growing concerns that there may be additional victims who have yet to come forward. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.

Liability For Sexual Abuse By Orange County Medical Professionals

 Sexual abuse within the field of healthcare is sadly far too common. According to one study in Consumer Reports, there were more than 3,100 practicing doctors who had been publicly disciplined after they were accused of sexual abuse. More than 2/3 of the doctors sanctioned were accused of violations involving their patients. Most of the abuse that takes place never gets reported in any official capacity. When abuse is reported, many of the perpetrators are never disciplined or removed from their ability to practice medicine. There are a number of examples of sexual abuse within a medical setting.

  • Doctors or hospital employees may inappropriately touch patients without their consent and when this is not medically necessary.
  • Doctors or hospital employees may sexually assault patients.
  • Doctors or hospital employees may sexually harass patients, which may include requests for sexual favors.

It is against the law for any doctor or hospital employee to touch a patient in their private areas when this is not medically necessary. According to California Penal Code § 243.4 PC (a), any person who touches an intimate part of another person while that person is unlawfully restrained for the purposes of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse is guilty of sexual battery. Pursuant to California Penal Code § 243.4(c), a person commits sexual battery by fraudulent representation when they trick a person into believing that the battery serves some type of medical or professional purpose.

When a patient is sexually abused by a doctor, there could be multiple liable parties. This includes the doctor who is being accused. It also includes the hospital or employer that they work for. Hospitals have a legal obligation to protect patients from foreseeable sources of harm, including sexual abuse. Many of the sexual abuse lawsuits against hospitals are based on the legal theory that the perpetrator was negligently hired or retained. There are several elements that must be demonstrated in any negligent retention case.

  • The worker was unfit for their job or posed an unreasonable danger to clients.
  • The worker’s employer knew or should have known about the danger that the worker posed.
  • The unfit nature of the worker caused harm to the victim.
  • The company’s negligent hiring or retention was a substantial factor in causing the harm.

Sexual assaults can have a profound negative impact on a person’s overall physical and psychological well-being. Victims of sexual assault are more likely to have a wide range of chronic health conditions. Sadly, though, hospitals will often do everything in their power to deny responsibility if one of their doctors denies responsibility for sexual assault. This is why it is so important to seek the guidance of a skilled sexual abuse attorney. An attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Getting Legal Help After Sexual Abuse By Orange County Medical Professionals

We at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our best wishes to all of the people who have been impacted by the actions of Dr. John Hoefs. There needs to be a thorough investigation into the full scope of the issue. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to make clinics and hospitals in Orange County safer for everyone.

Have you or someone that you care about been sexually abused by a medical professional in Orange County, California? You may have legal recourse. Our team of sexual abuse attorneys is here to help you. We are committed to advocating on behalf of sexual assault victims and holding their perpetrators accountable. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.

Author

MICHAEL S. CARRILLO, Partner

Michael works on high-profile cases that have garnered national media attention. His practice today focuses on child sexual abuse cases, police misconduct cases, catastrophic injuries and other wrongful death matters. He is a passionate advocate for his clients including the countless child sexual abuse victims he currently represents.