Woman says Charleston doctor sexually assaulted her during procedure

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 6, 2016

CHARLESTON – A 25-year-old woman is suing Dr. Steven R. Matulis after she claims he sexually assaulted her during a procedure.

Charleston Gastroenterology Associates was also named as a defendant in the suit.

On Feb. 16, T.W. presented to Charleston Area Medical Center for a colonoscopy procedure to be performed by Matulis and immediately before the procedure, she was administered a short-acting anesthetic Propofol and was rendered unconscious, according to a complaint filed April 5 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

T.W. claims without her consent and while she was under anesthesia and incapacitated, Matulis placed his hands inside her hospital gown and fondled and groped her breasts.

During the course of the procedure, Matulis used his fingers “to repeatedly penetrate her vagina,” according to the suit.

“My client trusted her healthcare providers and is completely devastated,” said Ben Salango, one of T.W.’s attorneys.

T.W. claims the sexual assault was witnessed by one or more employees of CAMC and, following the colonoscopy procedure, the employees reported the sexual assault to administration and, two days later, Matulis’ privileges to practice at the hospital were suspended pending an investigation.

On March 16, Matulis’ privileges to practice at CAMC were permanently revoked, according to the suit.

T.W. claims at no time did Matulis or any other healthcare provider advise her that she had been sexually assaulted while under anesthesia and she found out approximately one week later when law enforcement contacted her.

Upon information and belief, T.W. was not the first female patient to be sexually assaulted by Matulis during a colonoscopy procedure while under anesthesia and Charleston Gastroenterology Associates either knew or should have known that Matulis had sexually assaulted other female patients who were incapacitated from anesthesia prior to Feb. 16, according to the suit.

T.W. claims Matulis had a pattern and practice of making inappropriate and sexually suggestive remarks and comments to female patients and employees at CAMC and CGA knew or should have known that Matulis was unfit to practice medicine prior to her sexual assault.

There was no legitimate medical purpose for Matulis to fondle T.W.’s breasts or any other form of sexual assault that occurred during the course of the colonoscopy procedure, according to the suit.

T.W. claims the defendants’ negligent, reckless, willful, wanton and intentional misconduct proximately caused her physical and emotional harm and Matulis’ actions constituted battery.

T.W. is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with interest. She is being represented by Ben Salango of Preston & Salango; and Adam Campbell and Matthew Smith of Campbell & Smith.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 16-C-497

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