Dermatologist Accused of Molesting Patient Repeatedly
SAN DIEGO (CN) – A young woman claims a male Kaiser dermatologist forced her to take her bra off in front of him and molested her during an exam, in San Diego County Superior Court.
Using the pseudonym Janette Doe, the woman sued Dr. Stephen Kempiak and several Kaiser subsidiaries on, alleging sexual battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, assault and professional negligence.
Doe, 23, says she has a history of being abandoned, sexually abused, and threatened with her life, making her hesitant to question authority figures like doctors.
She came to Kaiser in mid-June 2015 for ingrown hairs in her pubic area. Though Kaiser knew about her past, they sent her to Kempiak, who was alone in the exam room with her, according to the complaint.
Kempiak treated her seven times. Doe claims she never saw him wash his hands before or after touching her, touched her with his bare hands.
After he made her take off her bra, he touched her breasts, claiming he was checking for bumps, but the “exams” lasted for ten seconds or more and were more like he was playing with them, according to the complaint.
During her fourth exam, Doe says, Kempiak made her take off the entire gown, allegedly so he could check the rest of her body for folliculitis.
“For this supposed purpose Dr. Kempiak touched every part of plaintiff’s body including her breasts and buttocks, which he grabbed. He actually lifted up plaintiff’s buttocks to check out her anal area. As in other appointments Dr. Kempiak opened up plaintiff’s vagina to look for bumps, but this time it felt different,” the complaint states.
Though she initially rationalized his behavior by thinking that he was just doing his job, Doe nevertheless felt uncomfortable around Kempiak and asked to see a female dermatologist instead, according to the complaint.
But the Kaiser scheduler refused, telling her that all female dermatologists were booked and that Kempiak was a “such a great doctor that she should just stay with him,” according to the complaint.
Things escalated during her next appointment, when Kempiak claimed he needed to make her sweat to see if the ingrown hairs would come up. After making her lie down on the exam table, he began rubbing her breasts and fingering her vagina and clitoris. Doe says she started crying and said she was uncomfortable with what he was doing, but he kept repeating that she needed to sweat and refused to stop.
He did the same thing during the next two appointments, and blamed her each time for being uncomfortable and unable to sweat. After that last appointment, Doe was in so much emotional pain she wanted to kill herself, but called a sexual assault hotline instead and was encouraged to contact the police, which she did, according to the complaint.
Doe claims Kaiser knew about Kempiak’s inappropriate behavior toward female patients long before she was assigned to him, but did nothing to protect her from him.
She seeks general, special and punitive damages.
She is represented by John Winer with Winer, McKenna & Burritt of Oakland.