D.C. ethics watchdog group files complaint against DesJarlais

Monday, October 15, 2012 at 1:03pm

A Washington, D.C.-based ethical watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Health against U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

The complaint from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington comes less than a week after revelations that the freshman congressman, who is also a doctor, had engaged in a sexual relationship with a former patient. As first reported by the Huffington Post, a transcript of a phone call between the two appeared to show DesJarlais pressuring the woman to get an abortion.

“The fact that Dr. DesJarlais engaged in a sexual relationship with a female patient he was treating for a medical condition — something he does not deny — merits an immediate investigation and sanctions,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said in a letter to the department. “That Dr. DesJarlais was married at the time of the relationship and urged this woman to have an abortion if pregnant simply adds to the outrageousness of his conduct and indicates serious disciplinary action is required to protect the public.”

In an open letter to his supporters on Facebook, DesJarlais claimed that he knew the woman wasn’t pregnant and that — by pressuring her to get an abortion — he was only using “strong rhetoric in hopes that it would lead to her admitting the truth — that there was no pregnancy.”

DesJarlais also claimed that he and his wife had an agreement allowing both of them to see other people while their divorce was being finalized.

In their complaint, CREW cites the Tennessee State Board of Medical Examiners’ Sexual Misconduct Statement and Policy, which states that, “It is the physician’s responsibility to maintain the boundaries of the professional relationship by avoiding and refraining from sexual contact with patients” and that “sexual contact with a patient is misconduct and is considered to be a violation” of state law.

7 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 10/15/12 at 12:11

"and that “sexual contact with a patient is misconduct and is considered to be a violation” of state law."

It's years later and he's still not been arrested and tried proving again that there is one very lax standard for the 1% and a stern standard for the rest of us. Welcomme to the Fascist States of America.

By: govskeptic on 10/16/12 at 6:10

Surely there's a time limit for a complaint of this nature to be filed or it's
worthless. There's no indication that the lady in this case ever made
any complaint's to anyone, other than of course, the supporters to this
year's Democratic opponent for the seat. If it were 35 year old story
versus 12 year's old it would still be their only issue.

By: Moonglow1 on 10/16/12 at 8:41


Scott DesJarlais is in violation of the Hippocratic Oath he takes as a physician. He is the lowest of the low. A parasite on humanity and needs to be in prison.

These self righteous tea nuts need to be strung up by -well- their tea nuts.

He is in violation of his professional ethics as a physician. In addition, he has a flawed moral compass and is not fit for political office.

By: freddy on 10/16/12 at 12:41

Republican Family Values -- god, I love them! Join the club, Mr. DesJarlais. Another dirtball who took the hypocritic oath. How in the world do people like him, and Todd Akin, Mitt Romney, get people to vote for them? Sad to say, and I guess I need to apologize to 50% of Americans, but it's because people are stupid and can easily be persuaded to vote against their own self-interest. I can see voting Republican if i were a rich white guy, but middle-class or poor? Women? Blacks? Hispanics? Are you kidding me? Why would they want to increase their own taxes and give the wealthy a big fat break? It's all Big Bird's fault -- let's cook his goose.

By: jonw on 10/16/12 at 2:47


By: global_citizen on 10/17/12 at 6:47

Having sexual relations with a patient is a crime in Tennessee (T.C.A. Section 63-6-214(b)(1)) as well as a violation of professional standards that merits the revoking of a medical license.

If these allegations are just now coming to light, even twelve years after the fact, they still need to be investigated and if found to be true (which DesJarlais doesn't contend otherwise) DesJarlais should at a minimum be stripped of his medical license.

Beyond what civil or criminal sanctions may happen, DesJarlais is emerging as a real scummy character.

By: not_guilty on 10/17/12 at 6:47

The statute referenced by global_citizen, Tenn. Code Ann. § 63-6-214, is not a criminal statute. It does set forth grounds for professional discipline of a physician.

Rep. DesJarlais' conduct is beyond the ethical pale, but falsely accusing a licensed professional of criminal conduct is unwarranted.