An Orange County infectious disease doctor specializing in treating members of the LGBTQ+ community has been charged with sexually assaulting nine male patients, officials announced Tuesday.
The incidents occurred “under the guise that the assaults were part of necessary medical exams,” according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Dr. William Thompson IV, 56, of Huntington Beach, faces eight felony charges of sexual penetration by means of fraudulent representation of professional purpose, three felony counts of sexual battery by fraud and two felony counts of forcible oral copulation, officials detailed in a news release.
The assaults allegedly occurred between 2016 and 2020 and included forcing one patient to orally copulate him and performing medically unnecessary anal exams.
“After learning medical procedures being performed on them by Thompson were not medically necessary, six of Thompson’s patients disclosed that they had been sexually assaulted by Thompson,” officials said.
The doctor was arrested last week at his Newport Beach medical practice following a joint investigation by the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Newport Beach Police Department.
Thompson’s website describes him as a general practitioner that services the LGBTQ community. He is also affiliated with Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, officials said.
Back in April 2021, Thompson was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, during which he had a blood alcohol content of .38, officials said. He eventually pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of DUI and one misdemeanor count of DUI with a BAC of more than .08%.
For the alleged sex crimes, Thompson faces a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in prison plus 25 years if convicted on all counts.
He is out on $100,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 2.
“Many of Dr. Thompson’s patients depended on him to provide life-saving care and he exploited those vulnerabilities for his own sexual gratification,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. “Unfortunately, because of his specialized area of practice, Dr. Thompson put the very patients he was supposed to treat with professionalism and dignity, in a situation where they may have felt they had no other choice but to be subjected to sexual abuse in order to receive the treatment they needed to continue to live. A doctor’s office should be a place where patients can safely share their most personal vulnerabilities without having to fear they will be preyed upon by a sexual predator. No one should be violated in such a shameful way by someone who has taken an oath to protect their patients.”
Investigators are asking for the public’s help identifying other potential victims in this case.
Anyone with additional information about Thompson’s alleged crimes or of any other victims is asked to call the Newport Beach Police Department at 949-644-3682. Anonymous tips can be made to 1-800-550-6273.