Watchdog group files complaint against DesJarlais

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WVLT) -- 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?”

Last week, the Huffington Post reported on a transcript of an undated phone conversation that appears to have been made before DesJarlais' divorce from his wife, Susan, was finalized in 2001.

In the conversation, the freshman congressman, who is running for re-election on a pro-life platform, tells the unidentified woman that he was concerned that she has delayed getting an abortion, and that he was willing to travel to Atlanta with her to get the procedure done.

The congressman's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but did not dispute the transcript to the Huffington Post.

The statement from CREW cites the Tennessee State Board of Medical Examiners’ Sexual Misconduct Statement and Policy, “sexual contact with a patient is misconduct and is considered to be a violation of T.C.A. Section 63-6-214(b)(1),” which prohibits unprofessional, dishonorable or unethical conduct.

Possible penalties, it said, include restrictions on a physician’s practice as well as the suspension or even revocation of his medical license.

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