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Abate Enters No Contest Plea To Lewd Conduct

CONTACT: Cindy Maguire, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5514

January 19, 2010

Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that Dr. Joseph A. Abate, of South Burlington, Vermont, pleaded no contest, pursuant to a plea agreement, in Vermont District Court, to one count of Prohibited Acts – Engaging in Lewdness, a misdemeanor. The plea comes after a jury had been selected and on the day evidence was scheduled to begin. Abate was sentenced to nine to twelve months all suspended and will be under the supervision of the Department of Corrections for two years.

Abate also agreed to a permanent revocation of his medical license. The proceedings regarding his license revocation shall be conducted by the Vermont Board of Medical Practice.

The Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations (CUSI) began an investigation when a twenty two year old female patient reported receiving an ungloved vaginal exam, with no warning and no one else present in the room. At the time Abate was an orthopedist employed at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

In entering a no contest plea, the defense conceded that there is sufficient evidence for the State to prove that Abate engaged in lewd conduct during the course of treating a female patient in 2007. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the State dismissed a charge of sexual assault, and amended a charge of Lewd and Lascivious Conduct to the Prohibited Act – Engaging in Lewdness charge.

“This agreement assures the people of Vermont and the public at large that Joseph Abate will never again be in a position to abuse a patient’s trust. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the many young women who came forward and told what had happened to them. Without their courage, Abate would still be in practice today,” said Attorney General William Sorrell.

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