West Linn doctor sued for repeated sexual assault of patients
Warning: The following article contains graphic accounts of sexual assault that may be distressing for some readers, especially victims of sexual abuse.
In a lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Oct. 22, four former patients accused David Farley, who in August announced his retirement from West Linn Family Health Center, of repeated sexual abuse.
The lawsuit alleges that Farley used his position as a doctor at Legacy Meridian Park Hospital in Tualatin and West Linn Family Health Center, which Farley opened in 1993, to abuse the women and girls, who ranged in ages from 13 to 28 when the abuse took place.
The abuses outlined in the lawsuit include forcing the victims to strip naked, forcing his fingers inside a patient's vagina, insisting on "breaking the plaintiff's hymen before marriage to 'ensure sex was more pleasurable,'" and performing "membrane sweeps" — a method used to induce labor in which a doctor or midwife inserts their fingers of the patient's cervix and moves their fingers around — without consent. The lawsuit also alleges Farley touched the four women and girls inappropriately without gloves, made derogatory and harassing comments, and insisted on invasive procedures that were not medically necessary.
In addition to naming Farley as a defendant, the lawsuit, which seeks $40 million in damages, names West Linn Family Health Center, Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center and Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center for failing to investigate previous sexual assault allegations against Farley in order to protect patients.
The suit also lists several other defendants, though they remained unnamed and were referred to as "John and Jane Does" in the lawsuit.
"Farley engaged in sexual misconduct with over 20 of his patients, including Plaintiffs, for no legitimate medical purpose and for no other reason than to satisfy his own prurient sexual desires," the lawsuit reads. "Farley repeatedly violated his role as a physician all while Defendants Family Health, Legacy, Providence, and (Jane and John Does) knew or should have known that he was an unfit doctor and should not have been in contact with patients."
The suit was filed weeks after the Oregon Medical Board revoked Farley's license to practice medicine on Oct. 2 for "unprofessional or dishonorable conduct," "sexual misconduct," and performing medically unnecessary procedures, among other reasons.
According to the lawsuit, one of the victims, identified as Jane Coe, visited Farley approximately 40 times between 2007 and 2009, when she was between the ages of 15 and 18.
Farley performed ungloved rectal and pelvic examinations of the 15-year-old, the lawsuit alleges. He also allegedly had her lie down and reached under her gown to fondle her breasts for several minutes.
Approximately two years later, Farley insisted on inserting an IUD in Coe's vagina and had her return twice so he could check on the IUD, the lawsuit claims. He did not wear gloves while performing any of the examinations of her vagina, according to the suit.
In August 2009, the suit says, Farley suggested to Coe that he break her hymen before she gets married, saying that "all women get it done." When she was hesitant he "disclosed the name of another patient whose hymen he recently broke who was a member of Coe's church," the lawsuit states.
Farley allegedly told Coe breaking her hymen would make sex more pleasurable and then digitally penetrated her until he did.
The second victim listed in the lawsuit, identified as Jane Poe, first went to Farley in 2003. She was 13 and needed to visit a doctor for medical clearance to participate in middle school basketball. At her sports physical, Farley instructed the young girl to undress and wear a medical gown, the suit states, and also informed her he would be performing breast and pelvic examinations.
When Poe declined the examinations, the suit continues, Farley told her and her mother about a teenage patient of his who contracted a disease that could have been prevented had he been allowed to conduct breast and pelvic examinations. Poe and her mother still refused but finally relented to the breast examination when Farley refused to sign her sports medical release, according to the suit.
The third victim listed in the lawsuit was named as Jane Roe. She reportedly suffered Farley's abuse 10 times between 2015 and 2019.
In 2017, when Roe was 36 weeks pregnant, she visited Farley, who performed a membrane sweep without her knowledge or consent, the suit states.
The lawsuit details multiple ungloved breast and pelvic examinations of Roe in 2017 and 2019.
In 2019, with his ungloved fingers in her vagina, Farley made inappropriate comments like "OK, everything feels good," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit states Roe believes Farley's "wholly inappropriate comments about her vagina were designed to shame, coerce, humiliate and control Roe so that she would be silenced, and so that she would suffer psychological pain and emotional distress. Following the examination, while Roe was naked, covered only by the medical gown, Farley approached her and gave her a hug, causing Roe to feel extreme mortification, embarrassment, and emotional distress," the suit adds.
The final victim listed in the lawsuit is named as Jane Voe. She visited Farley at West Linn Family Health Center and Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center on several occasions between 2015 and 2018, according to the lawsuit.
As he did with Roe, Farley performed a membrane sweep on Voe, who was pregnant with her third child, without Voe's knowledge of consent, the lawsuit alleges. The sweep did not induce labor.
Not long after, according to the suit, Voe was in immense pain and requested another appointment with Farley. He allegedly asked her to come to his home for more membrane sweeping.
Farley had Voe strip naked and lie on his bed for him to perform the membrane sweep, causing her additional pain, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also states that immediately following the birth of Voe's child, Farley began to aggressively pull on the umbilical cord to deliver the placenta, again to Voe's severe pain.
Two weeks later, during a wellness check of the baby, Farley began without warning or Voe's consent, to fondle and squeeze her breasts while she was nursing her baby, according to the suit.
Over the next two years, Farley conducted several more ungloved breast and pelvic examinations of Voe, the suit states. In 2018, when she said she did not want to undergo a pelvic exam, Farley became angry, according to the lawsuit.
Farley allegedly told Voe of a patient who skipped one annual exam and died of cervical cancer, forcing Voe to consent to the breast and pelvic exams. Farley reportedly did not lubricate the speculum before the pelvic exam and aggressively inserted it into her vagina, causing Voe a great deal of pain.
Farley then hugged her while she was wearing only the medical gown, causing her shame and embarrassment, the suit claims.
According to the lawsuit, the four plaintiffs were all young, "sexually inexperienced members of the conservative Mormon faith, who had never received any gynecological treatment" before being victimized by Farley.
The lawsuit claims that each medical institution named "engaged in a pattern and practice of ignoring complaints, failing to investigate sexual harassment and abuse complaints, deliberately concealing information from abuse victims, and contributed to a sexually hostile environment."
According to the lawsuit, Farley's personnel and employment records reflected his pattern of sexual contact with patients, yet this was not disclosed to patients, the Oregon Medical Board or law enforcement.
The lawsuit said the medical institutions actively concealed the allegations against Farley from law enforcement. They also cloaked Farley's sexual misconduct with a "facade of normalcy."
The lawsuit also stated that examination room chaperones were specifically hired to make sure physicians did not engage in inappropriate conduct while examining patients, but the chaperones "would routinely comply with Farley's request to leave the examination room, thereby allowing Farley unfettered access to sexually abuse his patients. In other cases, chaperones would deliberately look away from Farley while he was sexually abusing his patients or — perhaps even more egregiously — would watch the abuse yet remain silent."
According to the lawsuit, the four plaintiffs have suffered great physical and emotional distress because of Farley and the medical institutions he worked at.
"Plaintiffs have been limited in their ability to meaningfully interact with others due to the trauma of this molestation and abuse," the lawsuit reads. "This inability to interact creates conflict with Plaintiffs' values of trust and confidence in others, and has caused Plaintiffs substantial emotional distress, anxiety, nervousness and fear."
They seek $25 million for non-economic losses. They're also seeking $15 million in economic losses due to the adverse effects of Farley's abuse to their "employment and professional development."
In August, Farley announced an unexpected retirement from the West Linn Family Health Center "due to personal reasons."
When asked for comment regarding the lawsuit, West Linn Family Health Center only pointed to Farley's retirement letter.
Legacy Meridian Park and Willamette Falls Medical Center did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
This story will be updated.
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