Plastic surgeon acquitted of charges he secretly videotaped patients
City News Service | 6/17/2013, 1:41 p.m.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A plastic surgeon acquitted of charges that he secretly videotaped undressed female patients during post-operative exams is still waiting to be cleared by the state’s medical board, his attorney said today.
Jurors found Dr. Lance Everett Wyatt not guilty of all charges last Wednesday, including four misdemeanor counts of surreptitious filming and one misdemeanor count each of battery and sexual battery.
Prosecutors had alleged that Wyatt used a concealed camera to film two women and inappropriately touched one of the two patients during post-operative exams at his office near the Beverly Center.
But an expert witness for the defense testified that “there was a medical purpose for everything Dr. Wyatt did in that 17-minute video,” said defense attorney Winston McKesson.
The patient did not know she was being recorded, but neither did Dr. Wyatt, because the camera had turned on accidentally after being used to record an exam by another patient who gave her consent to be filmed, according to McKesson.
“His camera is his stethoscope,” McKesson explained.
The trial lasted 9 1/2 weeks, including nine days of testimony by Wyatt, and the jury deliberated for about 4 1/2 hours before returning with a not guilty verdict, according to McKesson.
A $2 million civil suit filed against the physician is still pending, and the state medical board has not yet released restrictions requiring a third party to be present during any examinations by Wyatt, his attorney said.
A medical board spokeswoman said it was too early to tell when any further action might be taken because the board had not yet received a copy of the final judgment. The board could schedule a hearing or close the investigation without a hearing.
City Attorney’s Office spokesman Frank Mateljan said prosecutors were disappointed in the outcome. The deputy city attorney who handled the case was on vacation and unavailable for comment, he said.
McKesson said he was frustrated by media response to the acquittal.
“When he was arrested, it was a huge story — like a Fourth of July explosion. Since he’s been acquitted, it’s been like a candle on a birthday cake.”