Levine

CHARLESTON – A former Mason County physician faces not only criminal charges for drug-related offenses, but also disciplinary action for alleged "sexual misconduct" with three female patients who were part of a drug treatment program.

On June 10, the Pike County, Ohio, grand jury returned a six-count indictment against Dr. Jack M. Levine. According to the indictment, Levine is charged with two counts each of illegal processing of drug documents, deception to obtain a dangerous drug and trafficking in drugs.

In a letter dated the next day, the State Medical Board of Ohio notified Levine that it "intends to determine whether or not to limit, revoke, permanently revoke, suspend, refuse to register or reinstate your certificate to practice osteopathic medicine and surgery, or to reprimand you or place you on probation." The Board's action stems from inappropriate comments made toward or touching of female patients part of a Suboxone treatment program.

Suboxone is a brand-name drug used as a replacement for methadone to treat people addicted to opioids such as heroin.

Though it is unclear if both the indictment and disciplinary action are related, both refer to alleged actions taken by Levine in 2007.

Using patients for sexual gratification

According to the Board's letter, at least three women lodged complaints against Levine for sexual misconduct. The complaints resulted in the Board initiating an investigation that included an interview of Levine on Dec. 19.

On unspecified dates in November and December 2007, Levine treated a woman, identified as Patient 1, as part of the Suboxone program. According to Board, Levine engaged in several graphic telephone conversations with her outside of their regularly scheduled office visits.

Among the comments Levine supposedly made to Patient 1 was "asking her to write notes/letters to you about sex and masturbating; asking her to be naked when you called her on the phone; stating to her that she needed a master to tell her what to do."

According to the Board, Levine denied telling Patient 1 she was his "sex toy." Though he admitted to making one "inappropriate" phone call to her, Levine said he was "only trying to help the patient and attempting to make her feel like a woman."

However, the Board's investigation found that Levine told Patient 1 she was his sex toy, and "you made more than one inappropriate call to the patient."

In its letter, the Board is less specific as to when Levine's conduct with Patients 2 and 3 occurred other than in 2007. However, the allegations leveled against him by those two women are no less graphic than Patient 1.

According to the Board, Levine asked Patient 2 "whether she had ever hitch-hiked for drugs and whether she ever prostituted herself for drugs." When Patient 2 she had, Levine "stated she would have to do that again to get her Suboxone."

Like with Patient 1, Levine is alleged to have instructed Patient 3 "to write notes about masturbating and orgasms, and to bring those notes with her on her next office visit." During one of those visits, the Board alleges that Levine not only "inappropriately touched her breasts," but that he also "bounced her breasts."

In its letter, the Board notes that Levine's conduct occurred with all three patients after they "tested positive for drugs other than Suboxone."

Concurrent cases

In the indictment returned against Levine by the grand jury, all six counts allege Levine's actions occurred between May 4, 2007 and Jan. 3. None of the counts make any specific reference to Suboxone, or any other drug.

However, in both illegal processing and deception to obtain indictments, Levine is alleged to have forged a prescription, and deceptively used it to obtain a dangerous drug "being a schedule I or II, except marihuana." Also, in both trafficking indictments, Levine is alleged to have sold "a schedule I controlled substance in an amount less than bulk."

In Ohio, all of the charges against Levine are fourth degree felonies, which are punishable by six to 18 months in jail, and a $5,000 fine. In some instances fourth degree felonies carry with them suspension of both a drivers and professional license.

According to court records, Levine is scheduled for arraignment on July 2 at 2 p.m. before Judge Randy D. Deering. Levine is currently free on a personal recognizance bond.

In its letter, the Board informed Levine of his right to request a hearing on the allegations leveled against him within 30 days of receiving the letter. Should they receive no reply from Levine by July 12, the Board said it would still proceed forward with disciplinary action.

Following his arrest in December on a sole charge of sexual imposition, Levine was placed on paid administrative leave from Pike Community Hospital in Waverly. Also, he is limited to writing prescriptions for non-narcotic drugs such as penicillin.

In February, the Pike County Prosecutor's Office dismissed the sexual imposition charge opting instead to pursue the drug charges for which Levine is now under indictment.

Levine's attorney, Thomas Spetnagel, with the Chillicothe law firm of Spetnagel and McMahon, did not return repeated telephone calls seeking a comment.

Pike County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 08-CR-130; State Medical Board of Ohio, Case No. 08-CRF-080

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