A California surgeon accused of sexually assaulting patients filed a new federal civil lawsuit on Friday, while a second doctor faces federal criminal charges for allegedly coercing vulnerable teenagers into sex.
The claims against dermatologist John Michael Moore come as the state of California investigates claims that his former patients may have been coerced into oral sex and vaginal intercourse.
On Friday, Moore was charged with two counts of civil sexual abuse in the state and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a minor in the federal.
“Both cases allege Moore allegedly visited a Bay Area gymnastics studio and sexually assaulted one of the students on the couch, while another girl was being attended to by another supervisor,” said Erin Murphy, a spokeswoman for the US attorney for the Northern District of California. “Both girls were between 14 and 16 years old.”
A lawyer for Moore, who has not been arrested, declined to comment on the new federal criminal charges.
The federal charges follow a suit filed by Moore’s accusers in 2016 against him and the clinic where he worked. The suit claimed the clinic and Moore orchestrated a cover-up to cover up Moore’s behavior. The suit, filed in federal court in Northern California, alleges that Moore prostituted, drugged and abused patients in the exam room.
It also claims the clinic tried to collect clients’ medical records and even got a physician general to step in as medical director of the clinic.
“Moore violated his patients’ trust and then demanded oral sex and vaginal intercourse,” the suit states. “He demanded the acts while requesting access to the patients’ medical files and threatening their jobs and career advancement in the ER.”
A lawyer for the clinic, Michael Cardoza, did not respond to a request for comment on the new charges.
Moore was also facing a criminal trial in Alameda County for four counts of sexual assault on a child. The sex-assault case was to begin in January, but the Alameda County district attorney dropped the charges in December due to a lack of evidence.
“I am grateful to my office for the opportunity to speak to the girls,” said Erin Goldie, the chief deputy district attorney in Alameda County. “As the defense and prosecution in the case stated at this time, I did not believe there was enough evidence to put John Moore in court.”
After criminal charges were dropped, Moore sued the Alameda County district attorney’s office and Goldie in federal court, claiming the defendants concealed evidence from him about his medical license. In May, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in a 16-page decision, also citing the lack of evidence.
Moore is being investigated for allegedly coercing a teenage patient into oral sex and an anal examination. Dr Michael Okros was charged with nine counts of misdemeanor sexual battery related to claims he coerced an under-aged patient into having oral sex in a parking lot. Okros is also a gynecologist who once worked at Moore’s clinic.
Moore did not respond to requests for comment.
The allegations are not limited to Moore and Okros. A former employee of Moore’s clinic told KCRA in Sacramento in March that he was not alone in sexually assaulting patients.
The revelations of sexual misconduct at a medical clinic were first brought to light in the fall of 2016, following an exposé in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The story alleged that Moore physically attacked and treated patients despite being suspended for sexually assaulting a male patient in 2015.
In the aftermath of the article, thousands of people signed a Change.org petition calling for Moore to be removed from the board and the Board of Medical Examiners to review physicians’ licenses. More than 20,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org calling for Moore to be fired from an urology clinic in Los Angeles, where he currently works.