Former Children’s Hospital Boston Pediatrician Melvin D. Levine died Friday last week, a day after a class action lawsuit claiming he sexually abused his patients was filed against him. He was 71.
Officials in North Carolina, where Levine, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, lived after leaving Massachusetts in 1985, have yet to disclose a cause of death.
Attorneys behind the class action suit allege that Levine engaged in inappropriate conduct with his patients over the course of his career.
“From 1966 through at least 2006, Melvin Levine would, during the course
of medical examinations, make kids strip naked, and then in a non-medical way would manipulate their genitals,” said Carmen L. Durso, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. “My office has talked to in excess of 60 people who all tell the same story.”
Edward F. Mahoney, Levine’s attorney, denied the allegations in a statement released Friday.
“This entire episode has been a tragedy,” Mahoney said. “Throughout it, Dr. Levine never wavered that his care and treatment of all children was appropriate in all respects, and he steadfastly denied the allegations against him.”
Levine, a Rhodes Scholar, worked at Children’s Hospital from 1966 to 1985, when he moved to the University of North Carolina Medical Center , retiring in 2006.
Over his career, Levine saw over 15,000 patients, and around 40 of those patients from his time at Children’s Hospital joined the suit, according to the complaint filed in Suffolk County Superior Court.
Levine signed a consent order in 2009 that barred him from ever practicing medicine again after five former north Carolina patients came forward with allegations of abuse, according to Durso.
In 2008, Levine voluntarily gave up his North Carolina medical license.
Children’s Hospital investigated a claim of abuse that surfaced after Levine’s departure but found no wrongdoing.
The suit filed against Levine also accuses Children’s Hospital of negligence.
Durso contends that Children’s was negligent in allowing Levine to meet with his patients in “secluded” places without parental supervision.
“My clients blame Children’s equally for not taking appropriate action,” Durso said.
Children’s Hospital released a statement defending its actions in reference to Levine.
“The fact of the matter is that except for the one complaint we investigated, no one alerted the hospital to any concerns regarding Dr. Levine. The hospital supervised Dr. Levine’s practice in accordance with the applicable standards of the time.”
The University of North Carolina Medical Center declined to comment on the allegations levied against Levine.
—Staff writer Benjamin M. Scuderi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.