BECKLEY – A federal magistrate ruled Tuesday that there was probable cause in the case of a doctor who formerly worked for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley and was charged in a criminal complaint which included sexually molesting a veteran.
Dr. Jonathan Yates, 51,of Bluefield, Va. appeared via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Omar Aboulhosn for a preliminary hearing. After hearing arguments from the federal government's attorney and attorney Ward Morgan, who is representing Yates, Aboulhosn ruled that there was probable cause.
According to the criminal complaint, while working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in February 2019, Yates examined a male patient identified as Veteran 1, and during the examination Yates sexually molested that veteran. Yates caused Veteran 1 severe pain and numbness, and temporarily incapacitated him by cracking his neck, after Veteran 1 had explicitly requested Yates not to crack his neck.
While Veteran 1 was incapacitated, Yates sexually molested Veteran 1, according to the complaint. This conduct, performed while Yates was acting under color of law in his capacity as a federal employee at the VAMC, deprived Veteran 1 of his constitutional right to bodily integrity.
Deprivation of rights under color of law, as charged in the complaint, is punishable by up to life in prison.
Yates is currently free on a $10,000 unsecured bond and under home confinement.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is requesting a congressional hearing into the matter.