South Bay

Lawsuit: South Bay Health Center Failed to Protect Female Patients From Sexual Abuse by Doctor

Health Center staffers allegedly endured “creepy”, “seductive”, and “touchy-feely” behavior by Dr. Leon Fajerman

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For more than a year, Dr. Leon Fajerman denied that he groped, forcefully kissed, fondled and sexually assaulted vulnerable female patients.

But months after NBC 7 Investigates first reported allegations against the south bay psychiatrist, Fajerman surrendered his medical license.

In October 2018, Fajerman pleaded guilty to felony sexual exploitation and misdemeanor sexual battery. As part of his plea, Fajerman admitted having unlawful sexual contact with at least seven female patients at the San Ysidro Health Center (SYHC).

A judge put Fajerman on house arrest and ordered him to pay his victims.

Now, lawyers for a former patient claim SYHC knew about those sexual abuse allegations early on but failed to investigate.

According to the lawsuit, SYHC managers "did not report the abuse or do anything to protect their patients. Rather, SYHC covered up the abuse and continued to supply Dr. Fajerman more victims.”

The 13-page federal complaint also alleges Fajerman “had a history and practice of acting inappropriately towards female social workers and receptionists at SYHC.” 

He allegedly once brought four bottles of wine to a staff meeting, questioned female employees about their boyfriends and husbands, rubbed a receptionist's stomach and “inappropriately” hugged patients in front of SYHC staff.

Fajerman could not be reached for comment on the new allegations, and an SYHC executive told NBC 7 Investigates the non-profit organization is “not at liberty to comment on the case,” due in part to its obligation to protect patient privacy.

But in a prepared statement, SYHC Vice-President Ana Melgoza did note that “We take every [former or current] employee complaint seriously and have an established internal process for investigating any claims. We are dedicated to continuing our mission and providing compassionate and essential health services to all patients in our care throughout San Diego County.”

Read the full federal complaint below:

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