Army doctor charged with sexual misconduct makes first court appearance

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An Army doctor made his first appearance in a military courtroom in Washington state on Friday where he faces more than 50 counts of sexual misconduct stemming from accusations brought by dozens of patients, in what could become one of the largest prosecutions by the Army of its kind.

The charges against the physician, Maj. Michael Stockin, includes 47 counts of abusive sexual contact and five counts of indecent viewing under the military code of justice, according to the Army Office of Special Trial Counsel who is prosecuting the case. In a statement after the hearing, prosecutors said that they dropped a count of abusive sexual contact “after ongoing review of the evidence.”

All of the 41 alleged victims are male. The documents include allegations that he attempted to cover up sexual abuse of patients by falsely representing that it had a “medical purpose.”

Stockin was expected to enter a plea of not guilty to the charges but elected to defer entering a plea at the hearing, according to prosecutors. 

Robert Capovilla, an attorney for Stockin, has urged the public to withhold judgment until the case is heard, saying, “We intend to fight against every single allegation until the jury renders their verdict.”

“Until then, we sincerely hope that the United States Army is fully prepared to respect Major Stockin’s Constitutional rights at every phase of this process, both inside and outside of the courtroom,” Capovilla said in a statement. “We urge everyone to keep an open mind, to remember Major Stockin is presumed innocent, and understand that this fight is just getting started.”

“Through close collaboration with the criminal investigators, [prosecutors] thoroughly evaluated the evidence and carefully considered all the facts before referring charges in this case,” the Office of Special Trial Counsel said in a statement. “We are confident that the facts and evidence support a conviction and that will be demonstrated when the case goes to trial on Oct. 7.”

On Thursday, two of those former patients spoke for the first time publicly in exclusive interviews with CBS News, describing what they say was conduct that betrayed their trust. Both asked to speak anonymously out of fear of retaliation.  

Both men, now retired after more than 20 years in the Army including three combat tours each, allege abuse took place under the guise of medical care.

“Being in the military at the time for 19 years, I trusted the medical doctor I was seeing,” said one of the men. “I trusted Dr. Stockin.”

Both say they intend to testify at Stockin’s court martial, which is currently scheduled to begin in October, according to the case docket, and is slated to last more than a month. 

“It’s emotional, it’s not something I’m used to,” the other said about his upcoming testimony. “I can deal with a lot of things. I can deal with anger, I can deal with combat, but emotions and things like that — it’s personal.”

The investigation will remain open through the trial, according to the prosecutor’s office, which says the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division “will further investigate should additional victims come forward.” 

In the meantime, Stockin has been suspended from seeing patients, but his medical license remains active, according to the Washington State Department of Health database. Michelle McCaskill, communications director for Army OSTC, said that Stockin continues to work at Madigan in a role of an “administrative nature in a non-clinical area.”

Prosecutors did not request that Stockin be held before the court martial but recently said in a statement that they “will continue to evaluate whether to request pretrial confinement based on the potential for MAJ Stockin to be a flight risk or commit further serious misconduct.”

There is no mandatory minimum penalty, according to McCaskill, but if convicted on all counts, Stockin could face a prison sentence of more than 330 years if sentences were to be served consecutively. 



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