Pediatrician’s arrest prompts warning from child advocates

LEBANON, Ind. -- A Boone County doctor is facing more charges after he was arrested last Friday.

Dr. Jonathon Cavins is accused of sexually abusing teenage boys who police say were some of his own patients. Police said there could be even more teens who fell victim, too.

Child advocates say this whole story is an unfortunate reminder of what parents and kids need to be aware of at the doctor’s office.

On Friday, Lebanon police arrested Cavins, who was a pediatrician for Witham Health Services. Investigators accuse him of molesting a 12-year-old boy during a physical exam.

On Monday, police said there were other victims who came forward after seeing reports of Cavins’ arrest in the media. Authorities say over the weekend two more teen boys, a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old, told investigators they had also been inappropriately touched by Cavins.

Police say the three victims’ accounts are all similar and are not consistent with a typical medical exam.

Investigators have also scheduled interviews with two more possible victims, potentially bringing the total number to five.

“The physician and the parents or caregivers from a very early age should be teaching the child what an appropriate medical exam entails,” said Sandy Runkle DeLorme, director of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

Runkle DeLorme, who is not connected with the Cavins case, said it’s important for parents and their kids to feel OK about speaking up at the doctor’s office.

“We really advise early and often educating children and parents about what to expect,” said Runkle DeLorme. By starting early, she said kids will know when something is off.

“Even more importantly, even than parents, is we want a child to feel empowered to say this doesn’t feel right,” she said.

She said there should always be someone else in the room during an exam--either a parent, or if a child isn’t comfortable with that, another medical professional.

Witham Health Services said in a statement they are “shocked and troubled by the additional allegations” made against Cavins and is asking that anyone with information come forward.

Witham Health Services said Cavins is no longer an employee there. Lebanon police are asking parents of Cavins’ patients to talk with their kids and come forward if they have any additional information.

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