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LAKE FOREST : Podiatrist Accused of Molesting Girl

June 02, 1993|DAVID A. AVILA

The state medical board has accused a Laguna Hills podiatrist of molesting an 11-year-old Lake Forest girl who went to him for a foot examination, the board announced Tuesday.

The formal allegations are a first step in efforts to strip Michael M. Fanous of his license to practice medicine, said Lynne Merrifield, a state board investigator.

The board alleges that Fanous molested the girl once on July 12, 1991, in his office, Merrifield said.

Steven Odell, an attorney representing Fanous, said Tuesday that he had not seen the board's allegations. But he said his client believes that the accusations stem from a billing dispute with the girl's mother, which occurred several days after the appointment.

Merrifield said investigators for the state board will also present the case to the state attorney general's office to consider criminal charges.

Merrifield said the Sheriff's Department began investigating the case on July, 18, 1991, and then presented its findings to the district attorney's office, which declined to file criminal charges for lack of evidence.

But Merrifield said the Medical Board of California has different guidelines.

"The D.A. said it was the child's word against his," Merrifield said. "But the medical board also can go after his license. We don't have to prove within a shadow of a doubt clear and convincing evidence. Just a shadow that it could be true."

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