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14 civil suits filed against Eau Claire pediatrician

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A former Mayo Clinic pediatrician who pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of criminal sexual abuse is facing 14 additional civil complaints this week, according to the Leader Telegram.

In court papers filed Monday, seven boys and seven men say Dr. David Van de Loo sexually abused them while they were his patients at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Van de Loo, 61, is scheduled for trial in Superior, Wisconsin in January on felony charges of sexually abusing male patients in his care. He practiced at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire until September 2012.

One of the plantiffs filing suit saw Van der Loo, not his regular doctor, on a routine visit for anxiety medication in 2007. The plaintiff was 17 years old at time. Van de Loo asked the boy's mother to leave the room, then performed what she later called "a highly inappropriate physical examination." She asked for an investigation.

She received a phone call from Van de Loo explaining that he performed a sports physical by mistake. He apologized for the mix-up regarding doctors. She also got a letter addressing the scheduling error, but nothing further.

Another plaintiff, who saw Van De Loo when he was a teenager, said "the genital exams lasted long enough to make me physically and mentally uncomfortable."

The other 13 plaintiffs also say Van de Loo touched their genitals during appointments for ailments like stomach and respiratory problems.

"I applaud these courageous children and young men who have come forward confidentially to get help and seek justice," said Mike Finnegan, their St. Paul-based attorney.

The Associated Press quotes Van de Loo's attorney, Rich White, defending his client's behavior as "appropriate and consistent with accepted medical standards."

The initial investigation began on Aug. 31, 2012. Criminal charges were filed in October.

The Mayo Clinic conducted its own investigation and terminated Van de Loo in September 2012. It's statement said, in part:

On Aug. 30, a complaint was filed about the care provided by one of our former physicians, Dr. David Van de Loo, a pediatric and sports medicine specialist.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire began a comprehensive internal investigation within hours, and the next day the physician was placed on administrative leave, away from contact with any patients. What we discovered during our internal investigation into this incident was surprising and deeply troubling to all of us.

The organization had not received previous complaints of this nature about Dr. Van de Loo and has policies that encourage staff to report any inappropriate actions by health care providers. Our extensive internal review of this incident revealed that his actions were inappropriate, outside the standard of care and a violation of the trust patients place in our organization.

Mayo said it also reported Van de Loo to the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board, which suspended him.

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