A finding that a California physician committed professional misconduct after engaging in sexual relations with a patient does not require the physician to instigate, request or return the sexual favor, the Court of Appeal of California, Third Appellate District said in an August 31, 2011 ruling in William Joseph Roy, Jr., V. The Superior Court of Sacramento County.
After denying Roy’s petition to vacate a trial court’s decision, the court said the state medical board findings “were not based on speculation or conjecture, but on reasonable inferences derived from the entire body of evidence in the administrative record.”
The case involved Dr. Roy, a gynecological oncologist who was accused of having sexual relations with two female patients in 2007. After his administrative law hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found no discipline was warranted due to the sexual contact in one case was relatively brief, unsolicited, one-sided and that “a physician cannot be held accountable for the unilateral sexual conduct of their patients.”
The California Medical Board rejected the ALJ’s decision, finding there was good cause to impose discipline and ordering a public reprimand of Dr. Roy. In addition, the medical board ordered Dr. Roy to take and complete an ethics course and professional boundaries course.
Roy appealed the non-adoption by the California Medical Board stating he cannot be disciplined by simply being the receiver of sexual favors. The trial court agreed with the board and found Roy’s conduct to constitute “sexual relations” under California Business and Professions Code 726.