Former Virginia Hospital Medical Director Faces Court Trial Over Alleged Sexual Abuse of Former Patients

Posted by

The former longtime medical director of a Virginia hospital for vulnerable children has been accused of using physical exams as a “ruse” to sexually abuse two teenage patients, a prosecutor said Monday. The physician, however, “adamantly” denied any wrongdoing through his attorney.

Related posts

Daniel N. Davidow of Richmond, who served as medical director of the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents, appeared in New Kent County court on Monday morning to face the charges. The court will determine whether he’s guilty of the four felony counts related to allegations made by two former patients.

In addition to this criminal trial, Davidow, along with the hospital and its parent company, faces a separate civil lawsuit where dozens of former patients allege inappropriate touching. Davidow has denied these allegations too. His criminal charges stem from incidents reported by two of those former patients, resulting in his indictment in December 2022.

On Monday, the two young women, who were teenagers when admitted to Cumberland, testified that Davidow groped their breasts and genitals during physical examinations as part of the admissions process. One of the women said, “I teared up. I was in shock.” The other stated that the abuse continued during subsequent exams, and she felt uncomfortable with Davidow’s behavior.

T. Scott Renick, the lead prosecutor in New Kent County, stated that the girls were in highly vulnerable situations, living without parental support at a residential facility that specializes in complex cases and sometimes takes court-ordered patients from other states. “The so-called exams were a ruse,” Renick said, emphasizing that as the medical director, Davidow “had complete control over them.”

Defense attorney Craig Cooley said that Davidow denies the allegations. Cooley claimed that other clinicians who were present during the exams would testify that they did not witness any inappropriate conduct. He portrayed Davidow as a devoted physician committed to helping children with complex medical conditions.

Cooley also questioned the motivations of the former patients, pointing out that they are seeking substantial compensation in the pending civil lawsuit. “They have an interest in the outcome of this case,” he remarked.

One of the former patients testified that she did not intend to seek financial compensation and was unaware of legal procedures. She said she engaged with attorneys in the civil case to seek justice.

During Monday’s hearing, Cooley unsuccessfully moved to strike the charges, arguing that the women’s testimonies were inconsistent and changed over time. Renick responded by suggesting that slight variations in accounts are common and do not undermine the credibility of the allegations.

Davidow, 71, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony indecent liberties and two counts of object sexual penetration. The trial is expected to continue on Tuesday, with Cooley set to present his defense.

Cumberland Hospital, situated about a half-hour’s drive east of Richmond, treats children and young adults with complex medical issues like chronic illnesses, brain injuries, and neurobehavioral disorders. The hospital has faced scrutiny after other staff members were charged with crimes related to patient abuse.

One psychotherapist was charged with sexually abusing a patient but died by suicide on the day he was to appear in court. Another behavioral technician was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading no contest to burning a disabled child with scalding water.

The civil case, involving claims from several former patients, is scheduled for trial in September after surviving attempts to dismiss it or narrow its claims under the state’s medical malpractice law.

Share this: