EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It is a story that keeps unfolding. Two months ago, Dr. David Van de Loo, a former pediatrician at Mayo Clinic Health System, was charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old patient.
A week ago, a former patient filed a civil lawsuit against Van de Loo and Mayo Clinic Health System, saying he too was sexually assaulted by Van de Loo.
And now on Tuesday, Eau Claire Police say 13 more children have claimed they were victims.
"Child sexual abuse cases are difficult cases, they are difficult to investigate," said Lt. Matt Rokus with the Eau Claire Police Department.
According to the criminal complaint, most of the children said they felt uncomfortable about what Dr. Van de Loo did during their examinations.
According to the criminal complaint, some of those thoughts included: "is this really happening to me?" "Is this really happening right now?" One boy said "he didn't want to play sports anymore because he feared getting hurt and having to go back and see Dr. Van de Loo."
Another boy referred to him as Mr. Van de Loo during the interview saying he did not deserve to be called a doctor.
We tried calling Dr. Van de Loo today, but did not hear back.
"We know patients place a high degree of trust in us as a healthcare provider and registering a complaint we know is extremely difficult, particularly with this sensitive topic," said Dr. Randall Linton, the CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System.
Dr. Linton says they have implemented a new policy requiring a third person to be in the room during a child's physical when the doctor and patient are the same gender.
"We think by doing this it's a step we can do to help earn that trust," Linton said.
He says it is industry standard already for a third person to be in the room when a doctor and patient are different genders.
"We're also open to looking at other changes that might be appropriate as time goes on," he said.
Dr. Linton says this policy is being used at Mayo Clinic Health System clinics in Eau Claire and later may be used in clinics across the system.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (EAU CLAIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE) - The Eau Claire County District Attorney’s Office has filed additional charges against Dr. David Van de Loo.
These added charges are a result of an ongoing investigation into allegations that Dr. Van de Loo sexually assaulted juvenile patients while employed as a Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. These new charges relate to thirteen additional victims.
The investigation began on August 31, 2012 when the parents of a 16 year-old male reported that their son was sexually assaulted by Dr. Van de Loo during a routine medical examination. The Eau Claire Police Department did not receive any reports of sexual abuse involving Dr. Van de Loo prior to the initial August 31, 2012 complaint. On October 10, 2012 the Eau Claire Police Department arrested Dr. Van de Loo as a result of this investigation.
After Dr. Van de Loo’s arrest, we received additional complaints that he sexually assaulted other juvenile patients. Detectives from the Eau Claire Police Department and the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office investigated these incidents. The additional charges filed today against Dr. Van de Loo are a result of these investigations.
Detectives are continuing to investigate additional similar incidents. Once these investigations are completed they will be forwarded to the Eau Claire County District Attorney’s Office for review and charging consideration.
The Eau Claire Police Department is conducting a comprehensive investigation to determine the facts surrounding the reported sexual assaults. We are investigating any and all leads that we receive. Sexual assault and child abuse are significant matters which require a timely and thorough investigation.
STATEMENT FROM MAYO CLINIC HEALTH SYSTEM:
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — The information we have learned from the police investigation and our own internal analysis of former physician Dr. David Van de Loo’s behavior is extremely troubling. This situation has been difficult and devastating for our patients.
The trust between health care providers and their patients is at the core of everything we stand for at Mayo Clinic Health System. We are grateful to, and fully support, patients and families who stepped forward with their experiences. We recognize that patients place a high level of trust in their health care provider, and registering a complaint against them can be extremely difficult, especially when dealing with a sensitive topic like this. We have been working to ensure patients with concerns receive the support they need.
The first complaint of this nature was received by Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire on Aug. 30, 2012. We immediately began a thorough internal investigation, and Dr. Van de Loo was placed on administrative leave within 24 hours, meaning he had no further contact with any patients. We reported Dr. Van de Loo to the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board on Sept. 11, and his employment with Mayo Clinic Health System was ended on Sept. 12.
We reached out to Dr. Van de Loo’s patients and asked them to come forward if they had any similar experiences, and we have actively cooperated with the Eau Claire Police Department throughout their investigation and will continue to do so.
Based on what we’ve learned, it appears that, for some time, Dr. Van de Loo engaged in behavior that was outside of medical standards and contrary to expectations of a Mayo Clinic Health System physician. We believe that he violated the trust of his patients by falsely portraying his inappropriate actions as medically necessary and part of a normal physical examination. It appears he shielded his conduct from other physicians and the organization, and used deceptive methods to conceal his behavior, potentially for years. This was a complete violation of the trust patients place in their doctor.
At Mayo Clinic Health System, we will continue to work diligently every day to earn the trust of our patients. Protecting patients remains our highest priority. To help ensure all patients remain safe, we have expanded our chaperone policy to go beyond the medical industry standard. In addition to requiring chaperones for opposite-gender adolescent physicals, a chaperone will be present for same-gender adolescent physicals as well.
We encourage any patients or families to continue to step forward if they had similar experiences to those reported. If you have any concerns or questions, please call our Customer Service Information Line at 715-464-7777 or the Eau Claire Police Department. Because the care in question involved private body parts, these types of conversations can be challenging to have with your children. For information about how best to talk with your child about this topic and what’s appropriate for general exams, go to www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/tips-for-parents.
Statement attribution: Randall Linton, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire
Story from December 5, 2012:
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A man is suing both a pediatrician and the Mayo Clinic Health System, claiming Dr. David Van de Loo sexually abused him while he was a patient.
A lawsuit filed in Eau Claire County court Wednesday claims that Van de Loo sexually abused the patient, who is now 21-years-old, at least ten times between 2004 and 2011. It goes on to say that the doctor had unpermitted, harmful, and offensive sexual contact with him. Lawyers for the man say that he is from Minnesota, and was a minor for most of the time that the alleged abuse happened. Van de Loo no longer works for Mayo Clinic Health System.
The man also claims that in 2007, Mayo Clinic Health System received a complaint from a parent of another boy, saying that Van de Loo had inappropriate contact with that boy during a medical examination. Lawyers representing the man who sued claim that Mayo Clinic Health System was negligent, since it continued to allow Van de Loo to work with and treat patients, including children.
Van de Loo is also facing criminal charges, including sexual assault. Prosecutors say he touched a 16-year-old boy inappropriately earlier this year.
WEAU 13 News tried to contact Van de Loo, but someone at his home told us that he would not comment on the matter.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a Mayo Clinic Health System spokeswoman released this statement:
Mayo Clinic Health System is aware of this lawsuit, but we have not been able to review it thoroughly yet. The first complaint we are aware of was received on Aug. 30, 2012. We are not aware of any previous complaints of this nature regarding Dr. Van de Loo. We will investigate any new information thoroughly and continue to work with families and the Eau Claire Police Department on this matter.