A freaky gynecologist’s secret use of tiny cameras to film his patients’ genitals has led to a $1,900,000 settlement with 8,000 female patients.
Doctor Nikita Levy was fired after 25 years with the Johns Hopkins Health System in Baltimore in February of last year, after a female co-worker alerted authorities about a pen-like camera he wore around his neck.
Levy committed suicide days later, after a federal investigation revealed thousands of images stored on his home computer.
The preliminary settlement approved by a court last week is one of the largest in U.S. history, involving sexual misconduct by a physician. It all but closes a case that never produced criminal charges but seriously threatened the reputation of one of the world’s leading medical centers.
According to authorities, thousands of women were traumatized, even though their faces were not visible in the images and it could not be established with certainty which patients were recorded or how many.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Howard Janet said 62 girls were among the victims, and that Levy violated hospital protocol by sending chaperones out of the exam room.
Johns Hopkins stated that insurance will cover the settlement, which “properly balances the concerns of thousands of plaintiffs with obligations of the medical center.”
“It is our hope that this settlement – and findings by law enforcement that images were not shared – helps those affected achieve a measure of closure,” the hospital statement said, adding that “one individual does not define Johns Hopkins.”
Approximately 8,000 women contacted the class-action lawsuit hotline.
Johns Hopkins’ attorney, Donald DeVries, said Levy “went rogue. The hospital had no inkling of what he was doing.”
Once alerted to the problem, hospital authorities notified Baltimore Police Department and ordered Levy off the property. Investigators said they found no evidence he shared the material with others.
Some women told of being inappropriately touched; that they were regularly called to Levy’s office for unnecessary pelvic exams.
Levy, age 54 at the time of his death, graduated from Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan. He began working at Johns Hopkins in 1988. When the allegations came to light, he was working at Hopkins East Baltimore Medical Center.
Hospital records indicate Levy treated well over 12,000 patients during his 25 years.
The doctor committed suicide by placing his head in a plastic trash bag. The bag was attached to a hose connected to a helium tank.
And so it goes.
# # #