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Doctor charged with sexually abusing patients waives preliminary hearings
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A former Poplar Bluff doctor will stand trial in Butler and Dunklin counties on charges he inappropriately touched female patients.
Accompanied by attorney Kyle Warren, Dr. Martin McDonald, 52, appeared Thursday afternoon in a Butler County courtroom for a preliminary hearing in his case before Associate Circuit Judge John Bloodworth.
A resident of Wappapello, Mo., McDonald is charged with six felonies of sexual abuse. He is accused of providing what authorities described as unrequested breast exams.
After Bloodworth questioned McDonald and told him of his rights to have a preliminary hearing, McDonald answered "yes" when asked whether he believed it was in his best interest to waive having a hearing in his case.
Bloodworth accepted McDonald's waiver and ordered him to appear at 9 a.m. March 8 before Presiding Circuit Judge Michael Pritchett for arraignment on the charges.
Twenty-four hours later, McDonald appeared in a Dunklin County courtroom before Associate Circuit Judge John Spielman for a preliminary hearing there on felony sexual abuse charges.
According to Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Sokoloff, McDonald, who appeared with attorney, Mark Richardson, waived having a preliminary hearing in his case.
Spielman ordered McDonald to appear at 10:30 a.m. March 23 before Presiding Circuit Judge Stephen Sharp for arraignment on the charges.
The Butler County charges stem from an investigation by the Poplar Bluff Police Department, which was initiated after McDonald, who at the time was a family practice physician at the Pehlman Family Clinic on North Douglas in Malden, Mo., was charged with similar offenses in Dunklin County.
Three women provided police Lt. David Sutton with verbal and written statements regarding incidents, which were alleged to have occurred when they sought treatment from McDonald at the Plunkett Family Care Center on Three Rivers Boulevard.
The Dunklin County charges had been filed in October after the sheriff's department there received complaints from three women.
After he was charged in Dunklin County, the State Board of Registration for Healing Arts suspended McDonald's medical license in November, saying he had violated his probation agreement to treat female patients in the presence of chaperones and to perform proper breast exams only as needed.
At the time of his October arrest, McDonald's medical license was on a 10-year term of probation through the State Board of Registration for Healing Arts for engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient for 30 days in 2005 and for inappropriately and unnecessarily performing breast examinations.
Poplar Bluff, MO