California eyes licenses of sex offenders

A judge blocked the state medical board from revoking one doctor's license.

By Damon Adams — Posted April 26, 2004

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The Medical Board of California will not revoke the medical licenses of physicians who were registered sex offenders before a law requiring such revocation went into effect.

The law took effect Jan. 1. A radiologist who was a registered sex offender sued under the name "John Doe, MD." A federal judge in mid-January issued a temporary restraining order to stop the board from revoking the radiologist's license.

Last month, the board dropped plans to seek the revocations.

"It was on the advice of counsel that we likely would not prevail on constitutional issues," said board spokeswoman Candis Cohen. "We were concerned that the entire statute would be thrown out by the judge, thus prohibiting the board from protecting the public by only applying the statute prospectively."

But she said the board will pursue the revocation process for physicians who become registered offenders after the law's effective date; one accusation has been filed against a physician. The law also applies to physician sex offenders who lost their licenses and file to get them back.

California Assemblyman Rudy Bermúdez said he will seek a new measure allowing the state to remove the licenses of existing sex offenders.

"It's necessary to take the step to ensure that these sex offenders no longer present a potential harm to patients in California," said Bermúdez, a Democrat who sponsored the original bill.

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