General Crime

* Doctor Robert Martin Kevess Facing 19 Alleged Sexual Assault Charges

A doctor who worked at the University of California at Berkeley’s health center for nearly 22 years has been charged with 19 felony counts for allegedly sexually assaulting six male patients, authorities said today. Robert Martin Kevess, 53, voluntarily turned himself in to police after being charged on Wednesday but was freed after he posted $745,000 bail, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Susan Torrence said. He is scheduled to be arraigned at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in  Oakland this afternoon. UC Berkeley police Capt. Margo Bennett said campus police began an investigation on March 23 after a former patient came forward “with detailed allegations of illegal conduct” on the part of Kevess.

Investigators substantiated the allegations and uncovered five other victims, Bennett said. Torrence, who specializes in prosecuting sex crimes, said, “We don’t know of any other victims at this point but once these allegations are publicized I wouldn’t be surprised if more victims came forward. “UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said it appears that Kevess “violated many ethical limits” and that the allegations “are deeply unsettling for the professional caregivers at the university’s health service.” Mogulof said, “We still don’t fully understand how this could have happened,” because no one came forward until last month and no concerns were raised when Kevess last went through a credentialing review in June 2010.

Torrence said the charges against Kevess stem from alleged sexual misconduct between March 2006 and Feb. 28 of this year. The victims were all students, and their ages ranged from 18 to 42, Torrence said. The charges against Kevess include sexual penetration with a foreign object, specifically his fingers, sexual exploitation of a patient and sexual battery under a false professional purpose. Torrence said she can’t comment on the details of Kevess’ alleged misconduct except to say that “there was sexual contact far beyond what was required for the course of a medical examination.” She said Kevess’ victims “were unconscious of the nature of his actions and he fraudulently represented his actions as a professional service.” Torrence said that even if Kevess claims that the alleged victims consented to engage in sexual activity with him, “consent is not a defense” because she Kevess misrepresented the purpose of the touching. “Consent is irrelevant,” Torrence said.

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