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 Vermont did on each category — and how we calculated the score for the categories.
Multiple young female patients said the orthopedic surgeon would touch on or near their genital area without gloves, and with some digitally penetrating their vaginas, when he had no verbal consent from them to do any such exam.
His attorney said everything Abate did followed proper medical procedures, and in 2009, his trial on seven counts of felony sex assault resulted in a hung jury.
But in 2010, as another trial was to begin, in a plea deal he admitted to a misdemeanor charge of prohibited acts/lewdness and was given a suspended sentence. According to a 2010 board order subsequently made public, Abate acknowledged that he had engaged in unprofessional conduct with patients. He agreed to a lifetime revocation of his medical license.
Abate had previously served as a team doctor for several college and high school sports teams in the area, according to a report by the Burlington Free Press.
The Journal-Constitution has been unable to reach Abate for comment.
"He was my lover, my psychiatrist, my therapist, my every source of human contact. . . . I was alone in agony, totally isolated. . . . He realized how vulnerable. . . I was and he played that card . . . for all it was worth."
— former patient of Dr. Peter McKenna, according to court documents in a malpractice dispute. The patient, who told Adult Protective Services in 2005 that McKenna had a sexual, romantic and social relationship with her, was bipolar and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia. McKenna admitted that he had sex with the woman in 2003 and was arrested on a charge of sexual act with a vulnerable adult. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, according to a news report. The case was dismissed in 2006 after McKenna died.
By law, board orders and information on felonies involving doctors are removed from the website after 10 years. And board orders are vague, providing few details about the charges that led to disciplinary actions. The order for one doctor in 2009 makes passing reference to “sexual transgressions of one kind or another.”
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