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Police probe claims against suspended physician

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

October 04. 2017 10:10PM


Claremont police have launched an investigation into sexual assault allegations against Dr. Eric Knight, the Claremont physician whose license was quickly suspended last month once a former patient told her allegations of unwanted sex to state medical investigators.

Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase said he started the investigation after receiving material about Knight in the mail from the New Hampshire Board of Medicine. He stressed the investigation will take time.

A message left with Knight’s lawyer, Andrea Daly of Portsmouth, was not returned.

Last week, the Board of Medicine announced it had taken emergency measures to suspend Knight’s license. In doing so, it recapped an interview with a patient in which she claimed that Knight engaged in sexual contact against her wishes.

Before the interview, the Board had been taking slower steps to suspend Knight’s license, after he disclosed consensual sexual contact to his employer and the Board of Medicine.

Knight was one of 15 primary care providers at Valley Regional Healthcare in Claremont, said Peter Wright, president and chief-executive of the hospital. He had been employed with the hospital less than two years.

The hospital terminated Knight after he disclosed that he had been having sexual relations with a patient. Knight said at the time the contact was consensual, Wright said.

“He told me he had been carrying on this relationship, the guilt had gotten to him and it was important to stop it,” Wright said. “He stopped it, told his wife, told his church and told us.”

Wright said that Knight disclosed the sexual contact in May and also admitted prescribing narcotic pain killers for the patient. Within 24 hours, the hospital made an initial report to the Board of Medicine, Wright said. It also started an internal investigation, including a review of his patient files and prescribing practices.

The hospital eventually found that out of the 87 patients that Knight prescribed narcotics to, only two had pain contracts, which is required by state regulations, Board of Medicine investigators wrote. The hospital informed board investigators.

Before the allegations came out, Knight was well thought of at the hospital, Wright said. He said the hospital has reached out to the victim to make rney Marc Hathaway said he and Claremont police were unaware of the matter, including the criminal allegations.

Chase acknowledged this week that Board of Medicine investigators had notified his department about Knight’s pending license suspension. On Sept. 22 — three days before the board suspended Knight’s license — investigators left a voice mail with Chase saying a package was being mailed to him about Knight.

Had he taken the call, Chase said, he probably would have reached out to the Board of Medicine for more details. The delay should have no effect on the investigation, he said.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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