A Beverly Center-area plastic surgeon was charged today in a case that accuses him of secretly videotaping nude patients during exams.
Forty-two-year-old Lance Everett Wyatt of Sherman Oaks was also arrested today based on a warrant, according to the L.A. City Attorney's office and the Medical Board of California. On his website the suspect seems fancies himself as a medical “guru” and plastic surgeon to the stars.
One of two women he allegedly taped says she spotted a camera, grabbed it, and turned it over to cops, according to prosecutors. This happened …
… nearly a year ago at his private, independent office (8631 W. Third Street), which appears to be on or next to the campus of Cedars Sinai Medical Center. The City Attorney's office says the alleged taping happened Aug. 4, 2011, to be exact.
The LAPD and the Medical Board have apparently been investigating since then. Wyatt was hit with these charges today, according to the board:
… Two counts of Penal Code (PC) 647(j)(3)(1), the unlawful filming of another, on two patients; two counts of PC 647 (j) (1), unlawful viewing of another, on two patients; one count of PC section 243.4(c), sexual battery on a patient; and one count of PC 242, unlawful use of force and violence (battery) on another.
The City Attorney's office says he faces two years in jail and a lifetime of registration as a sex offender if he's convicted. The office alleges that …
… he secretly video-recorded patients while they were undressed, and that he committed acts of sexual battery and battery.
… On August 4, 2011, the defendant allegedly secretly made video-recordings of two patients who were undressed. The two alleged victims, unaware that they were being filmed, were patients and were seeing the defendant as part of their post-surgical care. The camera used by defendant to commit these offenses was discovered by one of the victims who fled the office and turned the camera over to police.
It's not clear where the force and battery allegations are coming from.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich weighed in on this one, saying:
Patients deserve to feel safe and secure while in the care of their physician. Our charges allege that Dr. Wyatt violated that sacred trust and he should be held accountable.
The Medical Board wants anyone who thinks they might have been taped or otherwise sexually violated by the suspect to give it a call at 909-421-5830.
[Update at 2:30 p.m.]: We talked to Richard Kraft, supervising attorney in the City Attorney's Special Victims Section, to figure out how charges of battery came about.
He alleged that Wyatt touched at least one of the victims inappropriately while surreptitiously taping her and while leading the woman to believe the touching was medically necessary:
Based on one of the videos we identified conduct that we felt violated sexual battery and battery provisions of the penal code. In this case it was conduct permitted by the pateint because she believed the touching was for legitimate medical purposes.