MANKATO — A judge has denied a former Mankato Clinic eye doctor’s request to have two of six criminal sexual conduct charges against him dismissed for a lack of evidence.
District Court Judge Bradley Walker’s written ruling said the fact Todd Gavin didn’t have an assistant with him when he examined two women was a key point. Doing so is required by Mankato Clinic policies.
The motion only dealt with charges stemming from one of the victims, a woman who had been referred to Gavin to have an eye checked after she was treated for shingles by two other doctors. Gavin had her strip from the waist up, which she did, explaining he was checking for shingles. He also asked her to strip from the waist down, but she refused and told him she no longer had shingles below her waist. The victim reported Gavin then pulled the back of her pants back and looked down at her buttocks.
She also told Mankato investigators she became uncomfortable when Gavin touched her on the legs while encouraging her to remove her pants. Gavin grabbed her by the arm as she left and asked her to make another appointment. Investigators spoke to two other Mankato Clinic opthamologists who said they would have limited there examinations to the eye.
Gavin’s attorney, Richard Ohlenberg of Minneapolis, argued that Gavin’s actions weren’t sexual assaults because they weren’t of a sexual nature. Assistant County Attorney Michael Hanson said Gavin had no reason to examine his patient’s body, as he is also accused of doing with another woman who was seeing him for an eye exam.
Hanson also provided the written policy from the Mankato Clinic that says doctors are required to have assistants in the exam room during female breast and pelvic examinations and the identity of the assistant must be documented in reports. Walker referred to the policy, which was labeled Exhibit 1, in his order.
“The court is mindful there are legitimate medical reasons for making contact with intimate parts of the body that do not include sexual or aggressive intent,” Walker said. “However, given the facts of the case as alleged in Exhibit 1 that there was no assistant in the room with (Gavin) at the time of the acts as is customary based upon the clinic’s policy, and the fact that both victims reported they felt violated, the court is satisfied probable cause is established for this element and a reasonable, fair-minded jury could find the act was committed with sexual or aggressive intent.”
Gavin, 51, was reprimanded by the state in 2011 for inappropriately touching female patients and asking them to remove their clothing. He no longer works for the Mankato Clinic but has started a business called Gavin Eye Consulting and is listed as a doctor at Madelia Community Hospital and Clinic.