The report card for each state contains the scores it received when we evaluated it for how well it protects patients against sexually abusive doctors. The overall rating is the average of the score the state received in each category. In states with two medical boards, one for osteopathic physicians and the other for medical doctors, the overall rating is based on an average of each board’s scores.
Click on the boxes below to read how Montana did on each category — and how we calculated the score for the categories.
After Russell was arrested in 2003 on charges he had molested three children, a judge allowed him to continue practice on the condition that he had supervision while treating minors, according to news reports. Then, in May 2003, the Board of Medical Examiners issued an emergency suspension of his license.
The board found that in April 2003, he had had sex with an 84-year-old patient likely suffering from dementia, another patient in her 80s, and two other women.
The 84-year-old had gone to another doctor and asked to be tested for a sexually transmitted disease, telling that doctor she had unprotected sex with Russell in his office. That doctor was skeptical, thinking the woman may have confused a vaginal exam with sex. But he reported the information to local police and an agency that deals with elder abuse.
A state investigator contacted the county health department to see if Russell had reported a sexually transmitted disease and disclosed his sexual contacts. He had. The investigator was given the names of four women. The 84-year-old was among them.
Medical scheduling records showed that she and another woman in her 80s were patients. Investigators couldn’t determine whether the other two women were patients.
The Montana Board of Medical Examiners revoked his license in July 2003.
Russell was convicted in 2004 of three counts of sexual assault against a minor and sent to prison. He has since been released and is a registered sex offender.
“I can say that in my experience with dealing with the legal system, I perceive that there are more than one side to every story,” Russell told the Journal-Constitution in a phone interview, “and the legal system is of course dedicated to painting as bad, as malicious a picture as possible for conviction, which does not fully bring out the light of the two circumstances in these cases.”
“To determine which sanctions are appropriate, the board shall first consider the sanctions that are necessary to protect or compensate the public. Only after the determination has been made may the board consider and include in the order any requirements designed to rehabilitate the licensee or license applicant.”
— Montana law on how Board of Medical Examiners must determine disciplinary sanctions for doctors.
Montana had one doctor on active probation in mid-2015, and four doctors suspended, among 4,990 actively licensed medical doctors, according to information the state provided to the AJC through an open records request.
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