A Las Vegas doctor police say videotaped himself having sex with drugged patients in 2014 had been charged years before with fondling a 15-year-old girl who had gone to him for a case of pink eye, according to court documents unsealed Friday.
Dr. Binh Minh Chung‘s 2006 case was dismissed after he agreed to 100 hours of community service, "impulse control" classes and to "stay out of trouble," the documents said.
And he was never told to stop practicing medicine.
The Nevada Board of Medical Examiners knew about Chung‘s 2006 charges but never took action against his medical license. Instead, the panel put a letter of concern in the doctor‘s file. Those are not made public.
Chung, a 41-year-old family practitioner, was arrested again in June of this year and charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of using or permitting the use of a child for the production of pornography, according to court and jail records. The investigation started when Chung’s wife looked through her husband’s text messages and computers, according to his most recent arrest report. The wife found several videos of her husband having sex with other women and a girl, who appeared to be sedated.
Prosecutors said Chung probably will face more charges. He has been detained at Clark County Detention Center since June 20 with bond set at $550,000.
His license was suspended June 23. The board did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
The Review-Journal in June asked the Las Vegas Justice and Clark County District courts to unseal Chung‘s 2006 open and gross lewdness case in an effort to determine why the medical board allowed the doctor to continue practicing.
Judge Susan Johnson, who sealed the case in 2009 but was not the judge who oversaw the case proceedings, ordered the unsealing.
Court records made public Friday show the gross lewdness charges were reduced to a single count of misdemeanor battery before it was dismissed, and eventually closed to public review.
‘A BAD APPLE‘
Chung‘s 2006 case started with a woman taking her 15-year-old daughter to Integrative Family Medicine in the West Las Vegas Valley, according to an arrest report.
It was August 2005, the report said, and the girl needed treatment for pink eye. The doctor she had previously seen was not in that day, so she instead went to Chung.
During the visit, Chung asked the mother to leave the exam room, the report said. After she left, he asked the girl about her sexual activity. He told her to lie down on the table, then unbuttoned her pants and put his hand against her crotch, the girl told police.
The doctor then asked the girl to take her bra off so he could examine her breasts, the report said.
After the exam, the mother told police, her daughter "was not acting right" and wanted to go home immediately to shower.
Dr. Daliah Wachs, who runs Integrative Family Medicine, told prosecutors that after Chung was arrested she confronted him about the accusations, asking why he had the mother to leave the room. She said Chung responded that he did it "to get the truth" from the girl.
Wachs said she told Chung a nurse must be in the exam room anytime he was with a patient, court documents show. But the next day, a nurse told her Chung refused to let her in the room while examining a female patient.
"Binh was a bad apple. The second we figured it out we fired him," Wachs told the Review-Journal on Friday. "He is a complete embarrassment to the medical profession."
After the arrest, Wachs said, the medical records for the girl who had pink eye went missing. Walchs said she contacted police and the medical board, and the board informed her they were already investigating Chung.
Chung returned with photocopies of the patient‘s records, she said.
Walchs didn‘t hear anything about Chung again, she said, until he got arrested in June of this year. She still has not recovered the patient‘s original files.
DISMISSAL AND SEALING
Chung‘s 2006 lewdness case went on for three more years.
In June 2008 he struck a deal to plead guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor battery. A conviction for that is more like getting a citation, not the sort of crime that means jail time.
As part of the agreement, Chung was required to do 100 hours of community service work and to attend classes aimed at helping him control impulses. He also was ordered to "stay out trouble" for one year, meaning he could not be arrested or have other run-ins with the law.
Chung also was assessed a fee of $25.
The battery citation was dismissed Sept. 21, 2009, and was sealed shortly afterward.
But that came with complications.
The court papers were not properly served, Johnson said Friday in her order to unseal. Neither the Las Vegas Justice Court nor the Clark County District Attorney received signed motions, so neither agency expunged their records of the case.
Johnson in her ruling noted the public already knows many details of the case since it wasn‘t properly sealed.
"The public and the press have already learned part, if not most of [Chung‘s] alleged criminal history, resulting in this Court‘s Order to Seal Records having little, if any, effect since its filing in 2009," Johnson wrote. "Weighing the press‘ First Amendment interest of openness against Chung‘s right of privacy ’ that is, what remains of it ’ it is evident that the balance tips in favor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal‘s position."
The Nevada Board of Medical Examiners is scheduled to meet July 27 to decide whether to permanently revoke Chung‘s medical license.