Former area doctor sentenced for sexual abuse of patients

Friday, May 20, 2011

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A former Poplar Bluff doctor was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to inappropriately touching a female patient.

Dr. Martin McDonald, 52, pleaded guilty to felony sexual abuse before Presiding Circuit Judge Michael Pritchett, according to Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Sokoloff, who was appointed special prosecutor for the case.

After McDonald waived having a sentencing assessment report done by Probation and Parole, Pritchett sentenced McDonald to five years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, Sokoloff said. The judge recommended McDonald be placed in a 120-day shock incarceration program.

"The judge retained jurisdiction for 120 days; (Pritchett) can bring him back within the 120 days," Sokoloff said.

Pritchett, who will receive a report from prison officials, can place McDonald on probation or leave him in prison after the 120 days.

Originally charged with six felonies of sexual abuse involving three women, McDonald was accused of providing what authorities described as unrequested breast exams.

Sokoloff said the remaining five charges were dismissed at the time of McDonald's plea.

In speaking with McDonald's alleged victims, they "were comfortable with my recommendation, which was five years; the defense was free to argue for less," said Sokoloff, who did not put a cap on the sentence McDonald could receive. A class C felony carries a punishment range of one to seven years in prison.

McDonald reportedly was not taken into custody following his court appearance Tuesday as he also has two felonies of sexual abuse pending in Dunklin County.

Sokoloff said McDonald is to appear Wednesday before Presiding Circuit Judge Stephen Sharp for a plea or trial setting in his case.

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 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 in Poplar Bluff.

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.

Pertinent address:

Poplar Bluff, MO

Malden, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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