Provo OB/GYN sued on counts of sexual abuse and battery
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Obstetrics and gynecology specialist Dr. David Broadbent has practiced in the Provo/Orem area for close to 40 years, and has had several thousand patients.
Four women have come forward and, on Tuesday, filed a lawsuit against Broadbent in Fourth District Court in Provo accusing him of sexual battery, sexual assault, negligent supervision against Mountain Star Hospitals — of which Broadbent is attached — and intentional infliction of emotional distress by both Broadbent and Mountain Star.
Attorney Adam Sorenson, with the law firm of Gross & Rooney said, “I don’t know how many women will come forward.” He anticipates 50, perhaps more, women could add their Jane Does to the four already in the complaint.
Sorenson said they will listen to others, see if their case has merit and if so, add them to the list.
Court documents say that Broadbent has worked in Provo since the 1980s. Court documents specifically point out the location of his office.
They read, “Broadbent sees many of his patients at his office, which is positioned one block from Brigham Young University freshman dorms and in the middle of numerous apartment complexes in which thousands of young female Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University students live.”
A call to Broadbent’s office from the Daily Herald was not returned. MountainStar released a written statement to the Daily Herald.
The wrote, “We sympathize with and fully support any individuals in the recently filed lawsuit who may have experienced this alleged behavior at the physician’s private clinic in Provo. Like hundreds of other physicians who practice privately in our community, this physician is not employed by any MountainStar hospital. Over the years, this physician has seen a small number of patients at one of our facilities each year; however, to our knowledge, there are no allegations of inappropriate conduct at our facility. The physician is not currently authorized to see patients at our facility. While we empathize with the people involved, we believe we were inappropriately named in this lawsuit and we will defend ourselves accordingly.”
Jane Doe B.B.
In the case of Jane Doe B.B., who now lives in North Carolina, she and her husband went to an appointment with Broadbent on Aug. 23, 2018. The occasion was for her 13-week prenatal appointment.
Broadbent allegedly asked when she had her last pelvic exam and pap smear. Jane Doe B.B. said it had been just two months and Broadbent said in that case there was no need for one, unless she wanted to be on the safe side.
“Jane Doe B.B. told Broadbent that she did not want one and was in fact relieved that she did not need one,” according to the court documents. “Broadbent did not respond and unexplainably handed Jane Doe B.B. a gown, told her to change, and left the room.”
Jane Doe B.B. and her husband were confused about the need to undress since they just confirmed that she did not need, and did not want, a pelvic exam. Nevertheless, trusting Broadbent had a medical reason for asking her to change, Jane Doe B.B. undressed from the waist down and put on the gown.
When Broadbent came back into the room he told Jane Doe B.B. to lie on the exam table and without notice, warning or explanation and without a use of a speculum — a medical device used when giving pelvic exams — he inserted two fingers into Jane Doe B.B.’s vagina, moving them around, according to the complaint.
Following that, Broadbent took both of his hands under her shirt and bra and simultaneously felt her breasts. When Broadbent finished, he gave no explanation for his actions.
According to the complaint, the Plaintiff left Broadbent’s office feeling violated and thinking Broadbent’s actions were unnecessary and inappropriate.
She immediately changed her ob/gyn for the rest of her pregnancy. Jane Doe B.B. added that she was having nightmares about the experience in the following months.
“It was not until Jane Doe B.B. listened to a podcast in December 2021 — a podcast in which an interviewee related her own account of sexual abuse at the hands of Broadbent — that she realized that what she experienced in Broadbent’s office was not part of a medically necessary exam, but unlawful actions Broadbent performed for no other reason than his own sexual gratification,” she says in the court filing.
After hearing the account of another one of Broadbent’s victims, Jane Doe B.B. reached out to the interviewee and learned that numerous other women heard the podcast and reached out with similar accounts.
“A look online at Broadbent’s Google Reviews and other online reviews revealed additional personal accounts of sexual abuse. That is when Jane Doe B.B. realized that she was not the victim of an isolated event, but rather of a series of abuses at the hands of a sexual predator. As she read the accounts and realized the true nature of what Broadbent did, the pain, suffering, anxiety, and distress she felt after her examination came flooding back,” the court document says.
Jane Doe A.S.
The second plaintiff, Jane Doe A.S., lives in Utah County. Court documents say she chose Broadbent because he was close to BYU housing and seemed to be a reputable choice due to his healthcare and hospital affiliations.
On Sept. 23, 2015, Jane Doe A.S. visited Broadbent’s office for the first time with complaints of vaginal itching, and she was directed in to an exam room. In the exam room, Broadbent handed her a robe and a sheet and told her to undress completely and put the robe on.
Broadbent returned after she changed and told her to lay back and put her feet in the stirrups on either side of the bed. Once again without warning or explanation, Broadbent began touching Jane Doe A.S. around her thighs with both hands, then touching around her vagina and lastly around her rectal area with multiple fingers, according to the documents.
Without warning, Broadbent proceeded to insert his pinkie finger in her rectum and then began to place his fingers in her vagina. When finished, he also explained the importance of giving breast exams and proceeded to touch Jane Doe A.S. in the same manner described by Jane Doe B.B.
“Before Jane Doe A.S. could say anything, Broadbent started explaining in great detail how she could give herself breast exams at home. He took both of his hands and rubbed his own chest in circular motions saying, “It’s best to do this in the shower when you can get your boobs really soapy, I mean really lather them up, and rub in a circular motion to feel for lumps,” the court document read.
After describing self-breast examination, Broadbent prescribed something for the itching and said she could leave.
“For years, Jane Doe A.S. felt uncomfortable and ‘gross’ about what happened in Broadbent’s office, but told herself that he was a doctor and he ‘knew what he was doing,’ and she was just being dumb,” according to the court filing.
It was not until Jane Doe A.S. listened to the same podcast in December 2021 that she realized that what she experienced in Broadbent’s office was not part of a medically necessary exam, but unlawful actions Broadbent performed for no other reason than his own sexual gratification.
Jane Doe S.P.
Now living in Salt Lake County, third plaintiff Jane Doe S.P. met Broadbent when she was in her late teens.
In 2008, Jane Doe S.P. was 19-years-old, about to get married, and heard she needed a “pre-marital exam,” so she did an internet search for OB/GYNs in the area and saw that Broadbent’s office was right next to her apartment complex.
“When Jane Doe S.P. went into Broadbent’s exam room, she was told undress, put on a gown, and lie on the table. She was nervous and did not know what to expect when Broadbent walked in,” the document said.
As with plaintiffs one and two, Jane Doe S.P. was traumatized with Broadbent’s actions toward her body.
According to the court filing, a “pre-marital exam” is a term commonly used in Utah to describe a first appointment with an OB/GYN prior to marriage. It explains that the procedure is commonly used to establish a relationship with a doctor, discuss contraception options, and possibly have a pap smear performed. It is akin to a woman’s first annual exam.
Because of the procedure Broadbent went through with the 19 year-old, which included putting his fingers in body cavities and on her breasts, she was in extreme pain and felt shame for her body. She felt violated, but continued to blame herself.
“As Broadbent finished and was removing his gloves he said, ‘Well, your husband is a lucky man.’ Jane Doe S.P. said she felt like she wanted to throw up,” the document said.
Broadbent proceeded to explain in detail how she could prepare he body for sexual intercourse as she was getting married and then, according to the court document, said “If she experienced any bleeding during sex she should ‘Just do what the Boy Scouts do and apply pressure.'”
The documents read, “Jane Doe S.P did not know what to do, so she deferred to his authority as her doctor and doubted her own feelings. As a result, she lost trust in herself and in authority figures. For years, Jane Doe S.P. felt uncomfortable and violated, but she never told anyone — not even her husband. As she went to other OB/GYN’s, she felt some validation in her feelings and realized Broadbent’s actions were abnormal.”
In 2018, she thought again about the experience and it occurred to her to check his reviews to see if anyone else experienced something similar. In reading other similar accounts, she realized his conduct was a series of unlawful actions Broadbent performed, not necessary medical procedures.
“After speaking about her experience, other victims reached out to her and in subsequent conversations she realized that she had a legal claim. As more and more victims reached out to her, and as she saw victims posting reviews online about being sexually abused by Broadbent, Jane Doe S.P. realized that she was not the victim of an isolated event, but rather of a series of abuses at the hands of a sexual predator,” the court document said.
Jane Doe W.D.
Jane Doe W.D. lives in Loudoun County, Virginia. Around 1996, Jane Doe W.D. went to Broadbent for a routine gynecological exam. She was alone for the appointment, and Broadbent had her lie on a table as he performed a vaginal exam. Again, as with the other plaintiffs, he used his fingers to penetrate body cavities. She reports the Broadbent was rough and put his entire finger in her rectum causing her great pain and physical shock.
The document continues saying, “Broadbent then stood over her leering at her naked body and said, ‘I bet your boyfriend really likes those tan lines.'”
Again like the other women, Jane Doe W.D. was angry, disgusted and humiliated, but said to herself he’s a doctor so, “Who am I to question or challenge him?”
After the incident, Jane Doe W.D. said she became hyper-vigilant in self-protection, and did not feel safe. It was not until years into her marriage the she told her husband about the experience and started asking herself, “why can I not relax into a hug at times? Why do I flinch at being touched without warning? Why do I feel uncomfortable at any mention of my beauty or my body? Why do I still hide my body from [my husband]? Why do I feel vulnerable even in my safest space?” she asks in the court document.
It was not until Jane Doe W.D. heard the same December 2021 podcast that she realized what Broadbent had allegedly done was unlawful.
“Over time, Jane Doe W.D. mastered burying this memory, but as with any traumatic experience, there are triggers that cause flashbacks. When they occur, they affect her most precious relationships. A comment, a movie scene, a song, a dream, a client’s story, can bring it all back. When this happens, she becomes sad, angry, withdrawn, and irritable with her family,” according to the document.
“She cannot bear to be around anyone. She replays the abuse in her head, imagining that instead of doing nothing, she acted — imagining that if she did everything differently, had a voice, advocated for herself, sought help — things would be different,” the court document said.
Sorenson’s Jane Doe list is prepared for up to 50 to join the class action suit, but estimates it could end up being hundreds. Sorenson added, “We are proud to represent these women who are brave to share their stories. We hope others will come forward.”