ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - After a week of political scandal, Congressman Scott DesJarlais's medical career is at risk.
A Washington, D.C.-based legal watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has filed a complaint with the Tennessee Dept. of Health over reports Rep. Scott Desjarlais (TN-04) engaged in a sexual relationship with one of his patients.
“Tennessee law is crystal clear: Doctors are prohibited from engaging in sexual relationships with patients," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. "The only question remaining is, now that Tennessee authorities are aware of Rep. DesJarlais’ blatantly unethical and scurrilous conduct, what are they going to do about it?”
If the Department of Health determines an investigation is necessary, DesJarlais will be notified of the complaint and given a chance for a hearing in front of the medical board.
He could then face a public or private reprimand and a possible suspension or revocation of his medical license.
"I think it will be scrutinized closely by the board of medical examiners. Whether that's appropriate or not, I don't necessarily agree with that because this behavior occurred long before he was a congressman," said Knoxville attorney David Eldridge.
Eldrige has prepared clients for similar hearings.
"My sense of it is if it's not being pursued by a patient or someone who is claiming harm. That this doctor harmed me as a result of that innappropriate behavior, that that would affect the way a medical board ultimately deals with the complaint," said Eldridge.
Voters remain split.
"That's a no-no. Everybody knows that," said Steven Koren.
"If you're going to do your job, then that's what you should be looked at, not what's in somebody's personal past. We all make mistakes," said Crystal Walton.