Army doctor faces charges he sexually assaulted 42 patients

by Vern Evans

An Army doctor faces arraignment Friday over charges that he sexually assaulted 42 male patients he treated while working as an anesthesiologist.

When reports first came to the attention of Army investigators on Feb. 22, 2022, Maj. Michael Stockin was serving as an anesthesiologist at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington. He had been assigned to JBLM since July 2019.

Stockin was immediately suspended from seeing patients when officials received the first reports, Lt. Col. Jennifer Bocanegra, a spokeswoman for the base, told Army Times in August. It was not clear at the time how many of the alleged incidents occurred at the center. Bocanegra deferred Army Times’ queries to the Army’s Office of Special Trial Counsel, which did not respond to requests for comment.

The investigation spanned more than a year until charges were brought against Stockin in August. Initial reports involved 23 alleged victims, that number rose to 42 as of Friday’s hearing after prosecutors filed updated charges against Stockin.

The sheer number of alleged victims could make this one of the Army’s largest sexual assault prosecutions, officials previously said.

An arraignment is a hearing in criminal cases when a defendant is formally charged and can enter a plea. Typically court dates for subsequent hearings and a trial are set in an arraignment.

Robert F. Capovilla, Stockin’s attorney, told Army Times in a statement that his client will plead not guilty to all charges and specifications in today’s hearing.

“At this point, the defense can say with supreme confidence that we intend to fight against every single allegation until the jury renders their verdict,” Capovilla wrote. “Until then, we sincerely hope that the United States Army is fully prepared to respect Major Stockin’s Constitutional rights at every phase of this process, both inside and outside of the courtroom.”

Capovilla added that “in today’s political culture” the media will condemn Stockin and render judgement before the judge or jury hear evidence.

“We urge everyone to keep an open mind, to remember [Maj.] Stockin is presumed innocent and understand that this fight is just getting started,” Capovilla wrote.

Ryan Guilds, an attorney for seven of the alleged victims, declined to comment before the hearing when reached by Army Times Thursday.

“There are more questions than answers, including the scope and scale of the alleged crimes and what military and hospital leaders knew and could have done to prevent this,” Guilds told Army Times in August following initial reporting on the case.

Two former patients and alleged victims of assault by Stockin shared accounts of the incidents with CBS News.

Both men, who are now retired, described visits to see Stockin for physical pain and how while alone with the doctor they would be asked to undress and he would then examine their lower body and genital area, touching them inappropriately.

In September, two alleged victims, one retired the other still in service, filed administrative complaints that accused the Army and Department of Defense of negligence for failing to prevent the alleged abuse, Christine Dunn, an attorney with Sanford, Heisler and Sharp, the firm representing the two soldiers, wrote in a statement announcing the filings.

“The Army had a duty to take reasonable measures to protect patients in its care,” Dunn wrote. “The fact that Dr. Stockin was able to abuse so many patients is compelling evidence that the Army was negligent in supervising Dr. Stockin.”

The plaintiffs seek $5 million each in damages. The Army has six months to investigate the claim.

As a matter of policy, Army officials do not comment on ongoing litigation.

Stockin had served as an anesthesiologist in the Army since May 2013. He deployed to Iraq from October 2020 to February 2021. Prior to his JBLM assignment he served at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii from June 2013 to July 2014 and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland from July 2014 to July 2019.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

Read the full article here

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy