Report says assault claim against suspended Duluth doctor not substantiatedAn accusation that a Duluth physician took a patient home and sexually assaulted him cannot be substantiated, a Minnesota Department of Health report states.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
An accusation that a Duluth physician took a patient home and sexually assaulted him cannot be substantiated, a Minnesota Department of Health report states.
Nonetheless, Dr. Steven Erlemeier, 53, remains “indefinitely suspended” by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, which cited unspecified “bizarre behavior” as the reason for pulling the license of the former St. Mary’s Duluth Clinic neurologist.
A former patient of the doctor told the News Tribune that he had been taken to Erlemeier’s home in July, drugged and sexually assaulted.
The 59-year-old patient, from Louisiana, was convicted of child molestation in 1994, authorities said.
The Oct. 7, 2008, Department of Health report states Erlemeier — whom the report does not identify by name — acknowledged in an October interview that “he did ask [the Louisiana man] to go on rounds with him at the hospital.” The Department of Health is required to investigate cases of alleged patient assaults at health-care facilities.
Erlemeier’s action of taking the man into patients’ rooms July 19 while he provided consultations to them is “a violation of patient rights regarding privacy,” the report concludes.
However, it deems the accusations of sexual assault unsubstantiated, stating: “Multiple inconsistencies in the information given, and the statements made by [the patient], along with a lack of physical evidence, make it impossible to view [the patient] as a credible witness.”
According to the report, Erlemeier acknowledged taking the patient to his home because “he had no money, and he seemed too healthy to be in a hospital.” He said he wasn’t in his right mind at the time and he now knew that it was “unusual, odd and not right,” the report states.
“He stated that he gave [the patient] a small dose of Adoral (sic) (a medication used for attention deficit disorder) because it is a helpful drug for people with traumatic brain injuries,” the report says. Erlemeier said the patient told him he needed something to help him think more clearly.
Erlemeier told the health department investigator that his patient chose to sleep on his living room floor because the patient said it would be best for his back, the report states. Erlemeier said, “At no time did I have any sexual contact [with the patient].’’
SMDC spokeswoman Kim Kaiser said Wednesday that Erlemeier is no longer employed by SMDC.
Duluth police investigated the matter and didn’t bring charges. A police supervisor said the matter has been suspended but not closed.