More than 11 women allege sex violations by Bremerton doctor

BREMERTON, Wash. - More than 11 women have now come forward with allegations against a Bremerton doctor who was arrested Tuesday for investigation of raping two patients who had sought help for back pain.

The original investigation into Dr. Darren Chotiner, 46, found evidence that he sexually violated the two patients, touching them in a sexual manner and making advances to them during exams. In addition, police were aware of a third woman who alleged a similar experience.

Dr. Chotiner's arrest has now convinced a number of other women to come forward and tell police of their own experiences, said Detective Sgt. Kevin Crane of the Bremerton police.

"Just yesterday afternoon alone we had eight additional victims come forward with allegations and we continue to receive several more women coming forward today," Crane said Wednesday. "I do not have a grand total of the number of people who have come forward at this point."

He said the "phones have been ringing all morning" at the Bremerton police headquarters.

"We're splitting up the calls between different investigators so we can get them all handled," Crane said. "I can't ever recall seeing anything like this."

He said the allegations against Dr. Chotiner range from inappropriate comments and advances by the doctor during office visits all the way to allegations of indecent liberties and rape. All of the victims so far are adult women.

Crane added that some of the women are very relieved to be able to relate their experiences

"Others are coming forward saying they had their suspicions, they felt things were really strange and different and wrong, but just couldn't quite bring themselves to believe that a doctor would violate them," Crane said. "There's a wide range of emotions coming forward."

Crane said the victims are the Bremerton Police Department's top priority right now.

"We certainly want to care for them and make sure they're taken care of and get the services they need. We also need to gather any potential evidence or statements from these victims."

Detectives and the Washington State Medical Commission investigated the original two claims against Dr. Chotiner and developed probable cause to arrest him. Detectives served him with an arrest warrant Tuesday morning at a clinic in Bremerton.

"Unfortunately, some of the neediest people in our society are the best victims for these kinds of predators. People who don't have another place to turn and don't have a lot of options when it comes to healthcare, and those are the exact people who were being preyed upon in this case," said Detective Mary Garland with the Bremerton Police Department.

Chotiner, who has been practicing medicine in Washington since 2007, was ordered to be held on $50,000 bail, and an investigation into possible additional victims continues.

"We anticipated that because of the nature of these two complaints he had been - for a lack of a better term - grooming these patients, kind of pushing the envelope each time that he saw them," Garland said.

Chotiner entered into a performance-improvement agreement with the Department of Health back in 2011 after reportedly kissing a patient.

He is scheduled to appear in Kitsap County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon for an arraignment on the original two charges and possibly others.
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