Women fear gynecologist's photos of them

Feb. 28, 2013 at 9:27 PM
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BALTIMORE, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- More than 2,000 women have told Baltimore police they may have been videotaped by their gynecologist, police officials say.

Baltimore police officials also said Fred Bealefeld, the city's former police commissioner, was assisting Johns Hopkins as they dealt with the investigation, WJZ-TV reported.

Johns Hopkins officials confirmed Bealefeld would be part of its internal investigation, but they didn't say exactly what his role would be.

The women have been calling a police hotline after it was reported Dr. Nikita Levy had videotaped and taken photographs of patients during their pelvic exams and police had taken the photos and videos from the gynecologist's home, before the doctor committed suicide, WJZ-TV reported.

Anthony Guglielmi of the Baltimore's city police said the department was referring the women to counselors at TurnAround, non-profit organization, but many women feel betrayed and are fearful of medical care now.

In a letter to Levy's patients, the hospital wrote:

"On Feb. 4, a Johns Hopkins employee brought to our attention concerns she had regarding Dr. Levy, who said she noticed Levy had worn a device, which looked like a writing pen, around his neck while examining patients, which she believed was a camera.

"On Feb. 5, Johns Hopkins security went to Dr. Levy's office to question him about the device and while interviewing Dr. Levy, similar appearing devices were seen in his office and on his person. The interview was suspended after asking Dr. Levy to voluntarily surrender the devices, which he did. Dr. Levy was advised that he was prohibited from any further patient contact and was encouraged to seek counseling. Johns Hopkins Security then escorted Dr. Levy off the grounds and his upcoming appointments were cancelled.

"On Feb. 6, Johns Hopkins contacted the Baltimore City Police Department, and on Feb. 7, evidence obtained by Johns Hopkins was provided to the Baltimore City Police Department. The Baltimore City Police Department asked Johns Hopkins not to disclose details of the early police investigation so that their investigation would not be compromised and Johns Hopkins complied. But, concerned about patient healthcare, the authorities did permit us to send a letter to patients advising Dr. Levy was no longer affiliated with Johns Hopkins and to arrange for transfer of their health needs to other physicians. On Feb. 8, Johns Hopkins terminated Dr. Levy's employment.

"Currently, images and videos taken by Dr. Levy are securely in the possession of the Baltimore City Police Department. Except for a few individuals who have been notified, we also do not know whether any of Dr. Levy's patients are identifiable in any video or image contained in that evidence.

"We do not know what Dr. Levy did with the images or videos. It is believed that the Baltimore City Police Department and their federal partners in the investigation are still actively investigating that aspect of the criminal case."

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