Sixty patients reach out to lawyers after articles about sex abuse by West Linn doctor
In the month since four patients of former West Linn doctor David Farley filed a lawsuit alleging the doctor repeatedly sexually abused them, 60 more patients of Farley's have come forward with similar stories, according to local attorney Tom D'Amore.
Several patients reached out to the Tidings for information on reporting their stories after an initial article came out Oct. 23.
In the lawsuit, Farley's patients allege that the doctor, who founded West Linn Family Health Center in 1993, performed vaginal, rectal and breast examinations without gloves, among other abuses. One patient said she was 13 when Farley began abusing her.
Earlier this year Farley admitted to the Oregon Medical Board that he photographed the genitals and breasts of underage girls with his personal cell phone but could not provide proof of the consent he said he obtained from their parents.
D'Amore, a Lake Oswego-based attorney who is representing Farley's victims along with John Manly (the lawyer who represented victims of Larry Nassar, the former U.S. Gymnastics team doctor) said each of the women who've come forward want to see Farley held accountable.
D'Amore explained that though law enforcement is working on the case, his clients feel discouraged because they believe police are not working fast enough to get him off the streets.
"They feel like this guy is probably doing similar things now," he said.
West Linn Police Department said Oct. 28 that it had been looking into Farley "for a while."
Farley, who moved to St. Anthony, Idaho, after his license was revoked by the Oregon Medical Board, should not be allowed to practice anywhere in the U.S., thanks to the board's national database.
According to acting WLPD Chief Peter Mahuna, 30 to 40 victims have come forward to share their stories with police, though he expects more.
"As you can imagine, the decision to speak to the police about possible abuse is not easy for some people," Mahuna said in a text message.
Though Farley shouldn't be able to access potential victims through a new medical practice, D'Amore said his clients were worried about the children in Farley's life, even his grandchildren.
"Everybody knows each other very well and they know he has grandchildren," D'Amore said. "There was a concern that he was going to go to other countries, because he's done that before."
Mahuna said WLPD understands the frustrations of victims who were identified earlier in the case and want to see charges filed.
"We apologize for that, but we need to interview more victims and each victim deserves to be heard," he said.
Mahuna said he had no current timeline on when charges may be filed, as that was up to the Clackamas County District Attorney's office.
According to D'Amore, some of the patients who came forward recently are going to join the lawsuit against Farley, which also named the three institutions where he was employed: West Linn Family Health Center, Willamette Falls Medical Center and Legacy Meridian Park Hospital.
D'Amore and Manly will amend the original lawsuit complaint to add the additional patients, after which D'Amore said he expects the defendants will respond within several days.
Farley's attorney, Karen O'Kasey, on Nov. 12 filed a motion to stay the case until after a potential criminal case.
"Due to the criminal investigation and potential criminal charges, Farley will necessarily need to invoke his state and federal constitutional right against self-incrimination in this civil case," O'Kasey wrote in the motion. "That will prevent Farley from providing deposition testimony and responses to discovery of any kind."
O'Kasey, a trial attorney specializing in defense of employers and medical professionals, did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Taylor Lewis, a colleague of O'Kasey's at Hart Wagner LLP, who is also listed as an attorney for Farley.
D'Amore said this was a tactic frequently used in sex abuse cases and that he and his team would vehemently oppose the motion at a hearing Dec. 1.
According to Mahuna, three WLPD investigators are currently working the case and two senior deputy district attorneys from Clackamas County are working with them. The acting chief also said they could request help from the Major Crimes Team and Oregon Department of Justice if needed.
Though the Oregon Medical Board does not have power to dole out consequences for medical institutions like the three named in the lawsuit, D'Amore said other agencies with that power will hopefully look into the role each practice played in allowing Farley's abuse to continue.
"One of the things they look at very closely is, are there policies and procedures to deal with reports of sexual abuse?" he said.
The lawsuit alleges West Linn Family Health Center, Willamette Falls Medical Center and Legacy Meridian Park failed to investigate previous allegations of sexual abuse by Farley.
D'Amore noted people's and institutions' tendency to look away from reports of sexual abuse, citing examples like the Catholic church and Boys Scouts of America.
"People know things are happening and it goes on for years and years until it just explodes," he said. "We've got to somehow change that in our country."
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