Ex-Doctor, Already Convicted of Sex Offenses, Under Arrest for ‘Preying’ on Hundreds of Immigrants by Performing Fake Exams and Giving Bogus Vaccinations

A convicted sex offender, who lost his medical license in 1998, has now added quite a list of new charges to his record. Stephen Brian Turner is being held in lieu of $1.45 million bail in San Francisco on 106 felony counts charging him with practicing medicine without a license, mishandling blood samples, battery, filing false records.

Turner’s arrest followed and extensive investigation in which prosecutors found that for at least four years, he had acted as “a predator on immigrants who were just trying to do what the U.S. government required. This is a very vulnerable population.” (San Francisco D.A. Kamala Harris)

The accusations include hundreds of fake medical examinations, injections with saline solution instead of vaccines, drawing blood for HIV and syphilis tests that were never performed. As a result, hundreds of immigrants are not protected from various diseases including measles, mumps, and tetanus and their immigration filings are inaccurate.

While prosecutors are looking for additional victims (a difficult proposition given the hesitancy of immigrants to report such abuses), they have already discovered over 1,400 immigrants who were bilked out of some $250,000 by Turner at local immigrant agencies and a phony clinic he set up in San Francisco’s Mission District.

In 1984 and 1992, Turner exposed himself to and masturbated in front of women on several occasions in Los Angeles and Berkley. He was convicted of those offenses and had been on probation with the Medical Board of California that had required him to undergo psychological treatment among other things.

After he failed to comply with the terms of his probation, Turner surrendered his medical license in 1998. Although his name was apparently removed from the San Francisco Citizenship and Immigration Services list of qualified doctors in 2002, he remained listed as a doctor who was certified by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now known as the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services) to provide mandated medical exams to foreigners seeking a “green card.”

Although federal officials check doctors’ licenses when they first apply to conduct required exams, there is no system for rechecking their credentials after they are approved.  There is no official mechanism for the medical board to advise immigration officials every time a doctor loses his license.

Turner’s victims who have already received their green cards are safe in terms of their immigration status. They will, however, need to seek medical care to obtain the missing vaccinations and diagnostic tests they never received. Those who have not received their green cards will have to be re-examined at additional cost.

The San Francisco District Attorney is encouraging anyone who believes they may have been “treated” by Turner since 1998 to call a special hot line at 800.868.1933.

(Source: San Francisco Chronicle 2/17/06)

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