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Eau Claire (WQOW) - More than a dozen boys or young men have now come forward to claim they were sexually assaulted by a prominent Eau Claire pediatrician and the investigation is not over.
WQOW News 18 was in court Tuesday when Dr. David Van de Loo was charged.
Van de Loo was charged with sexually assaulting 13 boys during office visits going back as far as the year 2000. That's in addition to the 16-year-old boy he was accused of sexually assaulting in August. The charges have also prompted changes at the Mayo Clinic Health System where he worked.
Dr. Van de Loo was a pediatrician at the clinic in Eau Claire for 18 years.
"What we've learned today from the police and from our own internal investigation, is just extremely troubling. It's difficult to know how difficult and devastating this is for our patients," says Dr. Randall Linton, the president and CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System Eau Claire.
Dr. Linton says Van de Loo was put on leave within 24 hours of receiving the first complaint in August and was fired a few weeks later.
According to the charges, the alleged victims were mostly young teenagers but one was only 9-years-old. And according to the criminal complaint all of them say he touched them inappropriately during exams and several said he would help them undress. Detectives say several of the boys say Van de Loo touched them with his bare hands instead of wearing gloves.
CEO Linton says the core issue is the trust that exists between doctors and their patients:
"We believe that he violated the trust of his patients by falsely portraying his inappropriate actions as medically necessary and part of a normal physical examination. It appears he shielded his conduct from other physicians and the organization, and used deceptive methods to conceal his behavior, potentially for years. This was a complete violation of the trust patients place in their doctor."
The clinic has now changed its policy. In addition to having chaperones present for opposite-gender exams of adolescents, chaperones are now also required for same-gender exams.
Several of Van de Loo's alleged victims used the word 'weird' to describe what happened during their exams. Police say another teen said he didn't want to play sports anymore because he feared getting injured and having to go back to see Van de Loo.
The judge ordered Van de Loo's bond be increased to $50,000 cash, which Van de Loo posted. He's due back in court in January.
Eau Claire police say they continue to investigate additional alleged incidents involving Dr. Van de Loo and say any future cases will be referred to the district attorney's office for possible charges.
Eau Claire (WQOW) – More charges are filed against an Eau Claire doctor accused of sexual assault.
David Van De Loo was in court on Tuesday. Van De Loo, a former pediatrician at Mayo Clinic Health System was charged in October with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy. Tuesday, additional charges were filed against Van De Loo after more than a dozen alleged victims came forward. Also in court on Tuesday, a judge raised Van De Loo's bond to $50,000 cash bond. He was taken into custody.
EAU CLAIRE (Press Release from Mayo Clinic Health System) - The information we have learned from the police investigation and our own internal analysis of former physician Dr. David Van de Loo's behavior is extremely troubling. This situation has been difficult and devastating for our patients.
The trust between health care providers and their patients is at the core of everything we stand for at Mayo Clinic Health System. We are grateful to, and fully support, patients and families who stepped forward with their experiences. We recognize that patients place a high level of trust in their health care provider, and registering a complaint against them can be extremely difficult, especially when dealing with a sensitive topic like this. We have been working to ensure patients with concerns receive the support they need.
The first complaint of this nature was received by Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire on Aug. 30, 2012. We immediately began a thorough internal investigation, and Dr. Van de Loo was placed on administrative leave within 24 hours, meaning he had no further contact with any patients. We reported Dr. Van de Loo to the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board on Sept. 11, and his employment with Mayo Clinic Health System was ended on Sept. 12. We reached out to Dr. Van de Loo's patients and asked them to come forward if they had any similar experiences, and we have actively cooperated with the Eau Claire Police Department throughout their investigation and will continue to do so.
Based on what we've learned, it appears that, for some time, Dr. Van de Loo engaged in behavior that was outside of medical standards and contrary to expectations of a Mayo Clinic Health System physician. We believe that he violated the trust of his patients by falsely portraying his inappropriate actions as medically necessary and part of a normal physical examination. It appears he shielded his conduct from other physicians and the organization, and used deceptive methods to conceal his behavior, potentially for years. This was a complete violation of the trust patients place in their doctor.
At Mayo Clinic Health System, we will continue to work diligently every day to earn the trust of our patients. Protecting patients remains our highest priority. To help ensure all patients remain safe, we have expanded our chaperone policy to go beyond the medical industry standard. In addition to requiring chaperones for opposite-gender adolescent physicals, a chaperone will be present for same-gender adolescent physicals as well.
We encourage any patients or families to continue to step forward if they had similar experiences to those reported. If you have any concerns or questions, please call our Customer Service Information Line at 715-464-7777 or the Eau Claire Police Department. Because the care in question involved private body parts, these types of conversations can be challenging to have with your children. For information about how best to talk with your child about this topic and what's appropriate for general exams, go to www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/tips-for-parents.
Eau Claire (Press Release from ECPD) - The Eau Claire County District Attorney's Office has filed additional charges against Dr. David Van de Loo. These added charges are a result of an ongoing investigation into allegations that Dr. Van de Loo sexually assaulted juvenile patients while employed as a Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. These new charges relate to 13 additional victims.
The investigation began on August 31, 2012 when the parents of a 16 year-old male reported that their son was sexually assaulted by Dr. Van de Loo during a routine medical examination. The Eau Claire Police Department did not receive any reports of sexual abuse involving Dr. Van de Loo prior to the initial August 31, 2012 complaint. On October 10, 2012 the Eau Claire Police Department arrested Dr. Van de Loo as a result of this investigation.
After Dr. Van de Loo's arrest, we received additional complaints that he sexually assaulted other juvenile patients. Detectives from the Eau Claire Police Department and the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office investigated these incidents. The additional charges filed today against Dr. Van de Loo are a result of these investigations.
Detectives are continuing to investigate additional similar incidents. Once these investigations are completed they will be forwarded to the Eau Claire County District Attorney's Office for review and charging consideration.
The Eau Claire Police Department is conducting a comprehensive investigation to determine the facts surrounding the reported sexual assaults. We are investigating any and all leads that we receive. Sexual assault and child abuse are significant matters which require a timely and thorough investigation.
Anyone with additional information related to this matter should contact the Eau Claire Police Department Detective Division at 715-839-4978.
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