Patients of a doctor say they were sexually assaulted by the person they trusted.
At least half a dozen women say Dr. Thomas Lohstreter of Sarasota violated them in their most vulnerable moments, during appointments in his office.
Detectives say they were initially alerted in December 2019 to possible misconduct.
We spoke to a lawyer representing some of these women and they say they left his Englewood South County Medical Center office shaken and in tears.
Attorney Adam Horowitz said, “Doctors occupy a unique position of trust in our society.”
At least seven women accuse the 70-year-old of touching their “private parts” when a nurse left the room.
Horowitz represents three of the patients.
The victims he represents described their encounter as “groping” and “sexual in nature.”
One victim said she sat in the parking lot and cried after leaving the office and another said she was in a state of shock, numb, and cried the whole way home.
“For a person in the medical profession, especially a doctor to prey on that vulnerability and sexually assault the very people that are coming to him for help, is very disturbing,” Horowitz said.
Lohstreter no longer works at the practice. He was issued an emergency suspension order on his license on March 9, but challenged it and was issued a stay April 14 by the District Courts of Appeal, meaning he would be required to have a licensed health care professional present for all interactions with patients.
It’s not the first time his career was at risk.
The Minnesota Board of Medical Practices cited Lohstreter in 2013 for improper prescribing practices.
In one case, he prescribed anti-anxiety medicine to a relative who later died of mixed substance abuse.
Not all of his patients had a bad experience.
Christine Wurst of North Port said of her previous experiences, she “didn’t have any concerns. He was very kind, he was very nice to me, he took his time, he listened to my opinions.” Adding, “I was shocked and I was surprised and of course saddened, for the victims.”
Lohstreter faces charges of three counts of sexual assault and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of an elderly or disabled person, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. He bonded out of the Sarasota County Jail on May 6.
Anyone with additional information or concerns related to Lohstreter is urged to contact the Criminal Investigations Section at 941.861.4900.