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Report: Cleveland Clinic knew doctor was accused of raping two patients but kept him on staff

Report: Cleveland Clinic knew doctor was accused of raping two patients but kept him on staff
Posted at 10:03 AM, Jan 05, 2018

A former Cleveland Clinic surgeon is accused of raping two of his patients and a USA TODAY Investigation found the hospital knew about the cases but kept him on staff while they reached a confidential settlement. 

Ryan Williams is a colorectal surgeon who is accused of raping two women in 2008 and 2009.

He left the Cleveland Clinic last summer for another hospital where he was placed on administrative leave after his employers discovered the allegations against him, according to police reports obtained by USA Today.

The first alleged rape happened on April 11, 2008 when a patient was receiving a rectal exam from Williams. The patient said Williams inserted his penis into her rectum during the exam. 

After the patient pressed charges, she got a rape kit, which along with other tests, proved inconclusive. In an interview with USA TODAY, a spokesperson for the clinic said Williams took a polygraph test, which was filed over to a grand jury, but he was never prosecuted criminally.

Fast forward to February 6, 2009, when Kristin Fehr went to see Williams to have a hemorrhoid removed. 

According to a police report obtained, Fehr told police that Williams brought her into the examination room alone where he gave her two white pills and a cup of water, saying she needed to take them immediately.

She recalled groggily getting on the table and leaving the medical center in a haze with her then-boyfriend.

In October 2014, Fehr's memories started to come back in flashes and were accompanied by a "feeling of terror that was so intense that [she] felt [she] had to suppress it as best [she] could," according to the police report. 

She remembered being pushed from behind, turning and seeing Wliiams holding his penis.

Assuming she was the first, Fehr went to the Cleveland Clinic ombudsman because she thought if the hospital knew about the accusation against Williams, they would terminate him.

That wasn't the case, according to the USA TODAY investigation. 

Then, Fehr went to the Westlake Police Department. 

She was later given poorly redacted versions of her report and that of the first victim but was quickly told the first victim's report was released in error. 

Westlake Police Captain Guy Turner told USA TODAY that the first victim's case was ordered to be expunged by Common Pleas Court Judge John Russo in 2014.

Williams was never charged with a crime.

According to USA TODAY

Prosecutors considered sending the first case back to the grand jury with Fehr's case to improve the chance of an indictment, but decided against it as the cases would have to be separated at trial, according to a report by Westlake, Ohio, police on Fehr's case. 

A spokesperson for the Cleveland Clinic said Williams left the hospital for reasons unrelated to sexual assault allegations.

Williams moved to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus where he is on paid administrative leave after the hospital found out about the allegations.

The Cleveland Clinic released the following statement to News 5:

Cleveland Clinic is strongly committed to protecting the rights and safety of our patients, visitors and caregivers from any type of inappropriate behavior. We have processes for employees and patients to report any concerns, which are then thoroughly investigated. 

In these cases, we immediately reported the accusations to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and cooperated fully with the investigations. No charges were made against the physician and he passed a polygraph test.

We care deeply about patient safety and any form of misconduct is not tolerated.