An alleged victim of George Reardon claimed in a lawsuit Friday that in addition to being sexually assaulted by the late endocrinologist, he was raped at gunpoint by another person connected with Reardon.
The allegation is believed to be the first in which one of Reardon's alleged victims has claimed the involvement of another person in the assaults, although the lawsuit does not spell out the relationship between Reardon and the third party, say how old the person was or say where the assault took place.
Paul T. Edwards, a New Haven lawyer representing the alleged rape victim, identified as John Doe 12, declined to identify the third person.
The claims are included in new lawsuits filed Friday accusing St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center of negligence in its supervision and control of Reardon, who practiced at the hospital from 1963 to 1993.
The latest suits on behalf of 12 alleged victims bring to 30 the number of people — 26 men and four women — who have filed recent claims that they were abused by Reardon, either as patients in his private office or after he recruited them from hospital beds or the community to participate in purported research studies on adolescent growth and development.
Another of the alleged victims who filed suit Friday claims Reardon handcuffed him, tied his feet with rope and raped him in the doctor's private office inside the hospital. The man, who was in high school at the time, also claims that Reardon photographed him naked and forced him to perform oral sex on the doctor during the course of purported medical examinations during the 1980s.
The alleged victim, described in legal papers as suffering from "multiple disabilities," was referred to Reardon after having surgery for undescended testicles.
Another of the alleged victims, a woman who filed suit Friday under the pseudonym Jane Roe 1, claims to have been victimized through 1993 — the year state health authorities moved to revoke Reardon's medical license in response to several complaints of sexual abuse.
The state action came six years after the first complaint against Reardon was lodged with the state Department of Public Health in 1987. Health department regulators decided not to pursue the 1987 complaint. State officials have said they did not report the initial allegations to St. Francis.
In 1993, after more alleged victims came forward, the state did take action against Reardon. But the case ended when Reardon agreed to surrender his license voluntarily and retire from St. Francis. He died in 1998.
Susan K. Smith, a partner with Smith & Moore in Avon, who represents Jane Roe 1 and five men who filed suit Friday, said many of her clients, including Jane Roe, were referred to Reardon, who called himself an expert in sexual development, because they had abnormalities with their reproductive organs.
"Males were sent to him because they were developing prematurely," Smith said. "You had a small boy with large equipment. It's very degrading to them that he was using their anomalies for someone's perversion."
Many of those recruited were siblings of Reardon's patients. In the lawsuits, they claim that Reardon photographed brothers and sisters together naked and in sexually suggestive positions. No growth study by Reardon has ever been published.
Officials at St. Francis hospital have expressed shock at the allegations and insist that nobody at the hospital had any idea what was going on in Reardon's office during the 30 years he practiced there.
"We are deeply saddened for all the victims who may have been affected by such horrific acts," said Barry Feldman, senior vice president and general counsel at St. Francis.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs, many who say they were recruited to participate in clinical studies at St. Francis, contend that in addition to failing to supervise Reardon, the hospital violated a fundamental tenet of medical ethics by not ensuring that participants or their parents signed consent forms before joining the so-called studies.
Many of the alleged victims who are now suing the hospital say Reardon rewarded them with cash, trips to the Hartford Gun Club and other inducements. One women named in the suit filed Friday and identified only as "Jane Doe 3" claims that Reardon rubbed her genitals and told her it was required as part of the study. Later, the lawsuit says, he gave her ice cream.
The lawsuits say the alleged victims have suffered lifelong damage as a result of the abuse with some reporting alcohol and drug problems, and others reporting difficulties with relationships, employment and sleeping.
The lawsuits follow the recent announcement by West Hartford police that a homeowner renovating Reardon's former home on Griswold Drive had discovered a stash of 50,000 pornographic slides and 8mm films hidden in a false wall in the basement.
Although almost 10 years have passed since Reardon's death, the discovery of the long-lost photographic evidence of abuse, combined with an extension of the statute of limitations that allows victims of childhood molestation to file civil lawsuits at least until they reach the age of 48, has prompted the new lawsuits.
Although a few past victims sued Reardon's estate and won modest settlements after his death, the recently filed lawsuits mark the first time St. Francis has been named in any legal action related to Reardon's activity in the hospital.
Contact Hilary Waldman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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