EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Thursday afternoon, an Eau Claire pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy during an exam appeared in court.
Dr. David Van De Loo, a pediatrician who formerly worked at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire is out on a signature bond. In court, the judge changed the terms of his bond so he could see family in Indiana.
He's charged with second-degree sexual assault and exposing genitals of a teenage boy. Police say he admitted to the act, but that he said it was part of the exam.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of more than 40 years in prison.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A $10,000 signature bond was set Thursday for an Eau Claire pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy during an exam.
David Van de Loo, 60, of Eau Claire was released from jail Thursday, but will have to abide by several conditions.
Van de Loo worked at Mayo Clinic Health System – Eau Claire for 18 years. He was terminated from his job on Sept. 12. Investigators say he touched the boy inappropriately during an exam on Aug. 30.
Prosecutors said he admitted to the actions, but he said that it was a medical procedure.
"(The medical experts) named in the complaint that we have been in touch with and spoken with about the medical protocol and what was done have clearly indicated to us that there would be no medical explanation for what occurred," Eau Claire County District Attorney Brian Wright said.
"No doctor In the world can testify that someone else did something with a sexual intent. All those doctors could testify about is whether or not Dr. Van de Loo did something professionally that they don't agree with," Van de Loo's attorney Rich White said.
White and Wright also differed on whether there should have been an arrest.
"Taking Dr. Van de Loo into custody was appropriate given the information that I had in working with law enforcement," Wright said.
"It is not a situation where a custodial arrest is warranted," White said, saying Van de Loo was cooperative with police.
"There's a trust that has to exist between families and doctors, and what is alleged to have occurred here is a complete violation of that trust ... I can't think of anything any more serious for a community," Wright said.
Police said there could be more victims. Van de Loo was released on a signature bond, promising to appear at his next court date. He was ordered not to leave the state and can not have unsupervised contact with unrelated minors.
He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Mayo Clinic Health System – Eau Claire has provided a phone number for anyone with questions, as well as tips about talking with your kids about medical exams (see below for more information).
EAU CLAIRE, WIS. (WEAU) -- "We were surprised, we were shocked, we were devastated," said Dr. Randall Linton, the CEO and President of the Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire.
Words often cannot describe the feeling that goes along with a betrayal of trust. Even more so, when it is someone you hope is looking out for the health and well-being of your own kids.
On August 30th, a 16-year-old boy was at Mayo Clinic Health System for an examination. He was with Dr. David Van de Loo, a pediatrician at Mayo Clinic Health System.
But during that examination, the boy says he was inappropriately touched by Dr. Van de Loo. Hours after Mayo Clinic Health System learned about it, an investigation was launched.
"Shortly thereafter, Dr. Van de Loo was removed from patient care to determine what had happened," said Linton.
Eau Claire Police got involved and during that investigation, they talked to Dr. Van de Loo. The criminal complaint says he admitted to investigators that he touched the child's genitals.
But when other doctors were asked about the touching, they told police there was no medical reason for it, and the touching was improper.
Dr. Van de Loo was terminated from his job on September 12th after working there for 18 years. Since then, police say others have come forward saying they too may have been victimized.
"We're following up on that information right now to determine if that was an isolated incident or if there is a pattern of behavior on the part of Dr. Van de Loo," said Lt. Matt Rokus with the Eau Claire Police Department.
He says it is important for parents to talk with their kids about medical care they receive, and of any problems that arise.
"And if they believe their child was a victim of sexual assault at some length, they should report that to the police," Rokus said.
Mayo Clinic Health System says it will continue to work with anyone who may have been affected as well as police, saying trust is essential.
"It was outside of our standard care, and was a violation of the very sacred trust we have with our patients," Dr. Linton added.
Mayo Clinic Health System Customer service line: 715-464-7777.
Mayo Clinic's tips for talking with your kids about medical exams: click here.
Eau Claire Police Press Release
On August 31, 2012 the Eau Claire Police Department began a sexual assault investigation involving a 16 year-old male victim. On this date the victim’s parents reported to police this juvenile was sexually assaulted during a medical examination conducted at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.
The suspect was identified as Dr. David Van de Loo. At the time of the incident Dr. Van de Loo was employed as a Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Dr. Van de Loo was working in this capacity when the sexual assault occurred.
The Eau Claire Police Department has arrested Dr. David Van de Loo for the following charges:
Second Degree Sexual Assault by Employee of Entity
Exposing Genitals or Pubic Area
All of these charges relate to the assault committed against this 16 year-old victim.
The Eau Claire Police Department conducted a comprehensive investigation in order to determine the facts of this sexual assault and insure the best possible outcome for the victim and his family. Sexual assault and child abuse are significant matters that deserve empathy and compassion for the victim.
The Eau Claire Police Department would like to thank the following organizations that assisted in this investigation and provided support for those affected:
The Chippewa Valley Child Advocacy Center
Midwest Children’s Resource Center - St. Paul, MN
Center for Safe and Healthy Children - University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, MN
The Eau Claire County Department of Human Services
The Eau Claire County District Attorney’s Office
Anyone with additional information related to this matter should contact the Eau Claire Police Department Detective Division at 715-839-4978.
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Mayo Clinic Health System statement on Dr. David Van de Loo
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — At Mayo Clinic Health System, we hold a sacred trust with our patients to provide care with the highest level of integrity. If something happens to betray that trust, it’s devastating and painful for all involved.
On Aug. 30, a complaint was filed about the care provided by one of our former physicians, Dr. David Van de Loo, a pediatric and sports medicine specialist. Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire began a comprehensive internal investigation within hours, and the next day the physician was placed on administrative leave, away from contact with any patients. What we discovered during our internal investigation into this incident was surprising and deeply troubling to all of us.
The organization had not received previous complaints of this nature about Dr. Van de Loo and has policies that encourage staff to report any inappropriate actions by health care providers. Our extensive internal review of this incident revealed that his actions were inappropriate, outside the standard of care and a violation of the trust patients place in our organization. Dr. Van de Loo’s employment with Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire ended on Sept. 12. After his employment ended, additional patients have expressed concerns, and they are being reviewed and investigated.
We have collaborated with the Eau Claire Police Department throughout their investigation and are committed to doing so in the future. Mayo Clinic Health System reported Dr. Van de Loo to the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board on Sept. 11, and we will continue to cooperate fully with outside agencies investigating this matter.
Our top priority has always been protecting our patients. In this, and in all cases, we promptly and thoroughly review any complaints and take decisive action.
Mayo Clinic Health System is fully committed to meeting the needs of those affected by this situation. If you have any concerns or questions about this situation, please call our Customer Service Information Line at 715-464-7777. We encourage current or previous patients who may have concerns about the care provided by Dr. Van de Loo to contact us, the Eau Claire Police Department or Eau Claire County Human Services.
For information about how best to talk with your child about this topic and what’s appropriate for general exams, go to mayoclinichealthsystem.org/tips-for-parents.