published Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics again urges Scott DesJarlais sanctions

by Chris Carroll
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarLais
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarLais
Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington responded Wednesday to new allegations against U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, again asking state medical authorities to investigate its ethics complaint against the physician-turned-congressman.

"Who knows how many more women are out there, wary of coming forward for fear of embarrassment?" CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a news release. "If Tennessee expects its doctors to follow the ban on sexual misconduct, the Board of Medical Examiners must take swift action."

DesJarlais is a Republican running against Democrat Eric Stewart in the 4th District congressional race.

On Oct. 12, the watchdog group filed an ethics complaint against DesJarlais after a phone transcript showed the anti-abortion Republican urging an unnamed patient with whom he had an affair to get an abortion in 2000.

CREW's latest letter comes after a second woman told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that she dated DesJarlais while he was her doctor. She recalled marijuana use between the two and said he prescribed her pain medication on dates at his home.

DesJarlais acknowledged the first affair, but has said the second woman "is lying" without offering specifics. Court records confirm the woman had an affair with DesJarlais and on Tuesday she told the Times Free Press she stood by her story.

Stewart's campaign has said it hopes DesJarlais gets "the help he so clearly needs."

David Merchant, a CREW spokesman, said "we haven't heard anything back" from the Tennessee Department of Health regarding the initial complaint against DesJarlais.

Anyone can file a complaint against a Tennessee physician, but a Department of Health spokeswoman has said she cannot comment on pending complaints against medical professionals. DesJarlais' medical license is valid until 2014, state records show.

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