When we go to the doctor, there are several things that we take as a given.
Among other things, we think we have a right to privacy, a right to safety, and the right to a professional environment where we receive the best medical care possible.
However, a February 2017 visit to Penn Medicine Dermatology in Pennsylvania was so disturbing for a 17-year-old girl that she ended up screaming. Simply put, she saw something that wasn’t supposed to be there…
Apparently, a cell phone belonging to a male nurse by the name of James Close. It turns out, the 45-year-old married father of a 16-year-old and a 7-year-old had been recording patients from 17 to as old as 70 in the changing room of this dermatology clinic!
The 17-year-old patient was there receiving therapy for a skin disorder and she noticed that the iPhone had been recording for at least 25 seconds, and it even had a reflection of her in various states of undress.
“She noticed pretty quickly that it was recording,” said Lower Makefield Township Police Chief Ken Coluzzi.
“She freaked out and made a ruckus, and of course, some people came in to see what was wrong. That’s when they discovered something was wrong and they quickly contacted police.”
Of course, when the Lower Makefield police searched this licensed practical nurse’s phone, that’s when they discovered that it wasn’t just one incident.
Oh no, this man was just about the epitome of a peeping tom, even having clips of a woman in her 70’s.
“This is disturbing,” local attorney Matt Weintraub said to CBS Philadelphia. “We have an expectation of trust with anyone involved in the medical profession.”
Weintraub also said that he and many others are concerned that Close had videos of others that were no longer on his phone.
“We’re nervous there might be more victims,” Weintraub said.
“It’s definitely a concern I have at this time. We also have a responsibility to protect all of the current victims, and we need to make sure they feel safe again.
“Obviously we want to public to know that if there are other patients of this dermatology practice who feel like they may be victims, by all means, they should come forward.”
Close was initially charged with four criminal counts when he recorded the teenage patient. However, that number was quickly increased to 43 counts when the seven other victims were identified.
At his initial court appearance, he was presented via video link from the Bucks County Correctional Facility and his bail was set at $150,000.
Part of the reason why Close was able to get away with his voyeurism for so long is that the patients all go to a skin examination booth and they wear head and eye protection.
Simply put, James Close didn’t believe he would be caught because he did not think anyone would notice his crimes.
For their part, the dermatology practice where this sex criminal worked immediately terminated him.
“We are appalled by the actions of this former nurse, and we are cooperating as much as possible with the ensuing investigation,” said Susan Phillips, a spokesperson for the hospital.
This just goes to show that regardless of where you are, you better be aware of your surroundings because you just never know what nefarious conduct is being undertaken… even at your doctor’s office!