Kate Byrnside considered her doctor a trusted friend until the ear, nose and throat specialist groped and forcefully kissed her in his Carol Stream office.
For his actions during that 2004 appointment, Dr. Angelo Consiglio pleaded guilty to battery a year later and had his medical license suspended for four months.
Now, six years later, he wants his criminal record sealed as he tries to jump-start his career in the Florida Keys — an effort that has exposed failure in how Illinois regulators originally handled the case.
State regulators say they were unaware that Consiglio acknowledged sexual liaisons with at least three other female patients in Illinois, according to records obtained by the Tribune. The misbehavior was something regulators in Florida learned by requesting records from counseling sessions.
The information could have been available to Illinois regulators. They had access to psychological evaluations that Florida used in weighing whether to grant Consiglio an unrestricted license, experts say.
Instead, the Tribune found that Illinois did not document all of Consiglio's wrongdoing, doling out a punishment that the state now says could have been harsher had it known the extent of his earlier misdeeds.
Consiglio's story illustrates yet another way that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has struggled with disciplining doctors. Previous Tribune stories have shown how regulators can be slow to respond to doctors accused of sex crimes —- even those who have been convicted — and that some dangerous doctors continue to practice without supervision.
Illinois officials say the five-year statute of limitations in which they could have disciplined Consiglio further has expired. Prosecutors, though, are fighting his attempt to have his record sealed. A court hearing on his request is scheduled for Tuesday in DuPage County Circuit Court.
"He's trying to prevent the public from knowing about his conviction," said DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin. "The public has a right to know that the doctor they chose to see has been convicted of inappropriate fondling. Anything less would be a dangerous miscarriage of justice."
Consiglio, 54, who didn't respond to interview requests, has expressed remorse for his actions and promised he has learned his lesson.
The doctor held surgical staff privileges at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Delnor Hospital in Geneva and Edward Hospital in Naperville and served as an assistant clinical professor at Loyola University Medical Center. His income, according to court records, approached $1 million a year.
But his career took a dramatic turn on Jan. 5, 2004.
In her three-page police statement, Byrnside said Consiglio pulled her sweater up over her bra and groped her breast after she became dizzy and warm during a sinus procedure. Later, when she tried to leave, the doctor forcefully kissed her, she said.
"It stopped when he decided he was done," wrote Byrnside, of Elmhurst, who was then 29.
"I trusted this man as a doctor and a friend. I feel betrayed and violated."
Police arrested Consiglio after a four-month investigation after he made incriminating statements during phone conversations with Byrnside that detectives secretly recorded, records show. The doctor pleaded guilty on Jan. 26, 2005, to misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to a year's probation and ordered to get counseling.
Days after his guilty plea, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the agency that disciplines doctors, suspended his license after finding his continued practice of medicine "constitutes an immediate danger to the public," according to the order.
Consiglio's license remained suspended for four months, after which he was placed on professional probation for 14 months, records show. He was allowed to practice as long as he had a chaperone in the room with female patients, completed a course on appropriate professional conduct, continued with counseling and submitted quarterly compliance reports.
Similar to many states, Illinois reinstates the licenses of doctors who have admitted to sexual misconduct if they go through a counseling and evaluation process. Consiglio spent nearly two months in 2005 attending an estimated 100 classes at the Behavioral Medicine Institute in Atlanta, where professionals are treated for sex addictions and other problems, records indicate.
The treatment included polygraph exams where offenders such as Consiglio would have been asked about whether they were guilty of other professional sexual misconduct violations, an official at the institute said.
Consiglio passed his polygraphs and was successful in treatment, records show. Dr. Stafford Henry, who evaluated Consiglio for Illinois officials, found he was "safe to practice medicine," according to the records. The doctor's Illinois license was restored without restrictions in August 2006.
When he applied for a Florida license in May 2007, Consiglio said he had lost his hospital privileges in Illinois to perform surgeries.
"I take full responsibility for what occurred," Consiglio wrote to Florida medical regulators when asked about the battery conviction in his application, records show. "I admit that although I am married, I had feelings for (Byrnside). I should have recognized this and referred her on to a colleague. In trying to be a good and caring physician, I developed habits of getting too personal with my patients both male and female."
No details were divulged about the other sexual incidents. Consiglio got a restricted Florida medical license in March 2008 after a 10-month screening process. He now seeks a license that would allow him full medical privileges.
During the application process, he was required to detail his history of treatment and have his physicians submit letters explaining his condition.
When Florida board members learned from the Atlanta institute about his other sexual indiscretions and Consiglio admitted to Florida regulators to having "boundary issues with patients on a regular basis," they ordered another evaluation, this time by the state's Professionals Resource Network, records show. Consiglio was required to have a chaperone when working with female patients.
"I think what this doctor has done over time has been fairly egregious, and I think that we need to protect our citizens, and I absolutely, positively think that this gentleman needs to have a condition on his license and that he had to have a chaperone," said Dr. Laurie Davies, a Florida board member.
Sue Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, said Illinois regulators never learned of Consiglio's sexual relationships with at least three other female patients.
None of the women ever filed a complaint with the department, and those incidents were not disclosed in the state's psychiatric evaluation, she said.
Illinois regulators did know about Consiglio's extensive treatment in Atlanta, records show. Hofer said they never looked into that information.
The doctor didn't undergo a lengthy administrative hearing where his encounters with other female patients might have come up, Hofer said. And Consiglio would have had to give his consent to discuss such matters, she said.
Instead, he negotiated a settlement through his attorney that allowed his license to be suspended for the four months and then restored with restrictions while on probation.
Illinois regulators would have handled his disciplinary action differently had they found evidence of other sexual violations, Hofer said. "If we had other complaints of a sexual nature during that time, then his petition (to restore his license) would not have been granted," she said.
Hofer noted the department set harsher restrictions for the battery than what was required in court in the plea deal.
The incomplete vetting of Consiglio's history was an isolated situation in a process that typically gives regulators the full picture, she said.
Still, Illinois regulators should have known about the three earlier incidents, said Gary Schoener, a licensed Minneapolis clinical psychologist who has consulted in more than 4,000 cases of professional misconduct nationwide.
When a professional's license is being investigated and an evaluation is ordered, the doctor has no confidentiality as far as the regulating agency is concerned, he said. An evaluation often turns up information of other offenses or a more serious problem than was originally known to the department, Schoener said.
Further investigation should have been routine procedure, he said.
Schoener said Illinois officials need to re-evaluate what happened in the case because "clearly this was a guy with discernable problems, and he was allowed to practice."
In Florida, Consiglio must go before the medical board again if he wants a license without restrictions, said a spokeswoman for the state health department. The doctor still can't get full hospital privileges and has had difficulty attracting partners, his lawyer said.
"Professionally, he's really a talented guy," said the lawyer, Salvatore Miglore. "He should be allowed to make a living."
Although Byrnside couldn't discuss the case because of a settlement agreement with the doctor, she opposes letting him clear his record, said Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Lindt.
"This defendant not only devastated the victim in the matter, but the general public and other members of his profession," Lindt said.
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