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Sex assault probe widens

South L.A. doctor charged with abusing eight patients is under investigation in seven additional cases.

July 24, 2008|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

A South Los Angeles doctor charged with sexually abusing eight patients, including a 15-year-old girl, is also under investigation for molesting seven other people who went to him for medical care, prosecutors said Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

In a preliminary hearing, Court Commissioner Henry Hall ordered that Dr. Kevin Brown, 37, be held in jail on $4-million bail, despite protests from his attorneys who suggested it was far higher than bail set in similar cases and seemed to be punitively based on his father's position as premier of Bermuda.

But Hall agreed with prosecutors that Brown posed a "grave risk" to the community, as well as a potential flight risk because of his financial means and ability to flee to Bermuda, where his father heads the government.

Hall said that given the accusations and growing number of accusers it is likely there are more victims. The court commissioner noted that Brown was also being investigated in a multimillion-dollar healthcare fraud probe by the state. Hall continued Brown's arraignment to Aug. 7 and ordered him not to contact the alleged victims.

As for the new allegations, at least three cases are being prepared against Brown, Deputy Dist. Atty. Ann Marie Wise said in court, and four other patients have come forward and will be interviewed by investigators.

Regarding the eight cases in which Brown has already been charged, at least one of the incidents occurred outside Brown's medical office when he went to the home of a female patient in Alhambra and allegedly raped her, Wise said.

The California Medical Board also has filed a motion with the court to suspend or revoke Brown's medical license, she said.

The doctor's attorneys, Keith Bowman and Blair Berk, portrayed Brown as a physician arrested for touching patients and said that detectives went to the media to appeal for more victims.

Brown was jailed Monday on suspicion of sexually assaulting a number of female patients, including a 15-year-old girl and an undercover Los Angeles Police Department officer.

Brown allegedly molested eight patients over a two-year period. He is also being investigated by the state for "multiple healthcare fraud schemes and over prescription of Oxycodone," according to court documents. He has not been charged in connection with that inquiry.

His arrest came after several women contacted authorities and accused Brown of sexually battering or raping them during medical examinations, Wise said. Brown faces 19 felony counts, including a lewd act on a 15-year-old, rape, sexual battery by fraud and sexual exploitation. The alleged assaults occurred between Nov. 6, 2006, and May 31, 2008. If convicted, he faces 27 years in state prison.

At the time of his arrest Monday, Brown was free on bail for a previous sexual assault arrest. Brown also operates the Urban Health Institute of Los Angeles. The charity, which is run out of the same building as Brown's practice, seeks to provide disaster relief in the United States, South America and throughout Africa.

Founded by Brown, the institute has held fundraisers at the Playboy mansion. The events have featured celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian, Don Cheadle, Shannon Elizabeth and Hugh Hefner. Newspapers in Bermuda have reported that its tourism board provided free vacations to the charity. The trips were given as prizes for donors to the charity.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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