CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) — A woman who says she was molested by a doctor at a western Maryland walk-in clinic in April was astonished when she learned after contacting police that the man had served prison time for a 1987 Florida rape conviction, her lawyer said Tuesday.
Attorney Edward Delaney said the 41-year-old woman is considering suing Dr. William Dando, the nine-state MedExpress Urgent Care chain and the state of Maryland for damages over the state Board of Physicians' decision in 1996 to grant Dando a medical license despite his criminal conviction and his acknowledged history of alcohol abuse. Dando is facing charges in Maryland and has had his license suspended.
"Her primary concern at this point is basically to shine the light of day on the problems that Dando's behavior presents," Delaney said in an interview in his Cumberland office. The Associated Press generally doesn't identify victims of sexual assaults.
Delaney's associate, attorney Kristen Bender, said their client's main concern is protecting others. "The effect that it's had on her — she does not want to see that happen to anyone else. And she feel that it has happened to other people," Bender said.
The state medical board said last week that a second female patient has made similar allegations, but prosecutors said no one else has pressed charges. Dando, 59, of Rawlings, made a brief initial court appearance Tuesday on charges of fourth-degree sex offense and perverted practice. The family practitioner has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which could send him to prison for 11 years. Both he and defense attorney R. Steven Friend declined to comment outside of court.
Trial is set for Sept. 3 in Allegany County Circuit Court. Dando's employment at the MedExpress Urgent Care Center in LaVale ended after the Morgantown, W.Va.-based company learned of the woman's allegations and removed him from patient care, spokeswoman Kelly Sorice said. She said the company is reviewing the screening procedures that failed to reveal Dando's conviction, and is rescreening its current medical providers.
The Maryland licensing board suspended Dando's medical license last week, pending a formal hearing Wednesday. The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has asked its inspector general's office to investigate Dando's licensing and make recommendations to strengthen patient protection.
Delaney said the state board should have thoroughly checked Dando's background during his initial application process and during a disciplinary proceeding that led the board to place him on probation for more than 2 1/2 years, ending in February 2013, for delivering substandard care while practicing in Catonsville.
The Maryland board doesn't routinely run criminal background checks on applicants. Christine Farrelly, the medical board's acting executive director, said when Dando's license was suspended that applicants certify that the information on their applications is true, and the board reviews criminal convictions on a case-by-case basis. She declined to say what, if any, further inquiry the board made into Dando's criminal past.
The state Department of Public Health and Mental Hygiene said Tuesday that its inspector general's office has received its request to review the board's licensing process and background checks, and will report its findings to the department secretary and medical board.