More than a dozen patients of the renowned Rockefeller University Hospital in New York say they were sexually abused by a former doctor when they were children, the New York Times reported.
A total of 17 people, mostly men, told the Times they were abused by Reginald Archibald, an endocrinologist who treated children and adolescents at the hospital for more than 30 years.
Archibald retired in 1982 after years of studying childhood growth and maturation. He died in 2007.
When these boys were in Archibald’s examining room, he would tell them that he or they needed to touch their private parts, the attorneys of some of the accusers alleged said in a statement to CNN.
“Archibald used his white coat and Rockefeller University faculty appointment to gain the trust of worried parents seeking help for their vulnerable children,” attorney Mariann Wang said in a statement.
Hospital: Archibald’s conduct during exams was ‘inappropriate’
In a statement, the hospital says it first learned that Archibald “engaged in certain inappropriate conduct during patient examinations,” in 2004 when a former patient complained about physical exams given by Archibald.
At that time, according to the statement, the hospital notified medical and law enforcement officials, and also hired a law firm to further investigate the allegations.
The firm found “two prior reports made in the 1990s” and “determined that it was likely that some of Dr. Archibald’s behavior towards this patient was inappropriate,” according to the hospital statement. After that initial investigation, the hospital says it implemented a new policy to protect pediatric patients.
The hospital launched a second investigation this year after another former patient came forward with similar claims.
Details of the recent investigation were not released, but the hospital said more patients came forward with allegations involving Archibald. The law firm once again concluded that Archibald’s behavior was inappropriate, the hospital officials said.
CNN has reached out to the Manhattan district attorney who oversees medical conduct for the state of New York as well as the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm – who conducted the investigations – for comments.
Rockefeller Hospital has removed the doctor’s emeritus status at the institution and all references to him there in response to the findings.
The hospital is now reaching out to former patients and encouraging them to share their experiences.
As many as 1,000 letters have been sent to former patients, the Times reported, but officials would not confirm this number to CNN.
Hospital officials said on Thursday that more former patients have contacted them and accused Archibald of sexual misconduct.
“We are appalled to hear those accounts of Dr. Archibald’s reprehensible behavior. We deeply regret pain and suffering caused to any of Dr. Archibald’s former patients. We are extremely grateful to patients for sharing their experiences with us.”
In the same statement released Thursday, officials also noted that “patient protections and safeguards have been enhanced at the hospital over the past several decades, making an occurrence of this type highly unlikely today.”
The pain ‘will never go away’
The men who spoke to the Times all described similar experiences that included them disrobing while they were alone with the doctor and either being asked to masturbate or being masturbated by the doctor, sometimes to ejaculation.
Michael Manfre, 57, told the Times that he recalled this happening when he was about 12 years old. Another former patient, Matt Harris, 58, described being massaged by the doctor in his groin area and asked him if it felt good.
Another former patient who the Times only refers to as John from Brooklyn said he was raped by the doctor when he was 13.
CNN had been unable to contact the men mentioned in the NY Times report.
One of the accusers said the impact of the sexual abuse persists and urged the hospital to share what they knew about Archibald.
“The damage he caused will never go away,” said M.R., another of Archibald’s accusers. “But Rockefeller also has to explain more and tell us everything they knew, and when they knew it. We want answers.”