Woman Files Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Kaiser Physician

While the Supreme Court is currently in the process of reevaluating the limits of institutional liability as it relates to sexual abuse lawsuits, a doctor employed with Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices has been arrested on the suspicion of sexual assault. Law enforcement officials announced the arrest of Dr. Arturo Vargas on Wednesday after he allegedly molested a female patient during a routine exam. Vargas was held on suspicion of three felony sex crimes, but was released from jail within hours of his arrest after posting the set $200,000 bail.

Vargas has worked for Kaiser Permanente since 2005, however, information on his employment before Kaiser has not been provided. It was not until July 2011 that the police were made aware of his lewd and salacious acts.

Approximately six months ago, a patient in her thirties alerted officials that Vargas sexually assaulted her while attempting to receive a routine checkup. Montebello police Lt. Luis Lopez acknowledged that police “received a report from a woman in her 30s that during a routine medical examination, she was assaulted by a physician.”

After receiving the reports of the alleged sexual assault, police began to conduct an intensive investigation. Wednesday witnessed the culmination of their investigation when the case was filed against Vargas. Upon hearing the indictment, Vargas turned himself into the police, along with his attorney. Vargas is due in East Los Angeles Superior Court on Feb. 6 to be arraigned on felony charges of sexual battery by fraud, sexual exploitation by a physician and sexual penetration by a foreign object.

Due to the severe and sensitive nature of this sexual abuse lawsuit, Vargas was placed on leave from his position at Kaiser during the early stages of the investigation.

Reyna Del Haro, a spokeswoman for the hospital, was quick to acknowledge the actions taken by Kaiser. Subsequently, representatives involved in this case are taking the allegations very seriously. According to Del Haro, Kaiser “confronted the physician, required him to conduct all future sensitive examinations in the presence of a chaperone, reinforced the importance of professional communications, and warned him that failure to meet expectations could result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from the partnership.”

“We have placed the physician on administrative leave pending any additional information that we may learn from the legal process,” Del Haro said. “We have compassion and sympathy for any patient who may believe that he or she has not been treated appropriately, and we investigate all allegations of improper treatment. In cooperation with the police, we will take all appropriate action to ensure continued high quality care and patient safety.”

Do I Have a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

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