Two women whose children were seen by an Albuquerque pediatric urologist facing a federal child pornography charge filed a class-action lawsuit Saturday alleging that the patients were “treated by a depraved sexual predator” who used his position “to engage in pedophilia and voyeurism.”
Dr. Guy Rosenschein was arrested in November and remains in federal custody pending trial on charges of possession and distribution of child porn, according to court records. He and his former employer, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, are named as defendants in the lawsuit filed in state District Court.
Federal court documents indicate that agents found images in Rosenschein’s home of naked children and Bernalillo County detectives reported finding a flash drive on his keychain containing pornographic images of children.
The lawsuit alleges that a cellphone seized from Rosenschein’s home contained around a dozen images “taken in a hospital or medical setting.” But U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, whose office is prosecuting Rosenschein’s federal case, wrote in a letter to PHS officials early this month that there was no evidence to suggest the photos were taken at Presbyterian or even that taking the photos was not clinically appropriate.
The plaintiffs argue, on the other hand, that, based on the time that the images were taken, “the children in the photographs were most likely Presbyterian patients.” And that “no legitimate basis exists to claim that pictures of boys’ and girls’ genitalia and a child’s exposed chest on the personal iPhone of an admitted pedophile is ‘clinically appropriate.'”
Lee Hunt, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said that the identity of the children in the photographs remains unclear, a fact that has his clients “concerned and afraid.”
The plaintiffs are identified as “Jane Does” in the lawsuit. One is the mother of one of Rosenschein’s patients and the other is the legal guardian of another patient.
“The purpose of this lawsuit is really to address the breach of trust by Dr. Rosenschein and Presbyterian,” Hunt said. “And we think that exists for all parents (of children) who were seen by him, really without regard to whether or not they were photographed.”
Along with allegations of invasion of privacy, lack of informed consent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the lawsuit holds that PHS was negligent in its hiring, retention, supervision and credentialing of Rosenschein, and was aware that the children he examined were “at risk of abuse or exploitation.”
“The very position that Presbyterian bestowed upon Dr. Rosenschein gave him hands-on contact with minors’ genitalia on an almost daily basis,” the lawsuit said.
It is not clear who is representing Rosenschein in the civil case.
In a statement, PHS did not specifically address the new lawsuit, but said that the organization’s number one priority is “the safe and effective care of our patients.”
“As soon as we learned of the initial allegations, we took immediate action to ensure that this physician no longer practiced in our facilities,” the statement said. “We continue to work closely with law enforcement. We will keep our focus on the patients we serve and comment on legal proceedings in the appropriate venues.”
But plaintiffs argue that PHS sent letters to patients “assuring them that Dr. Rosenschein was not engaged in inappropriate conduct at Presbyterian” and also “allowed a pedophile access to minors at its facility.”
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.