SOAP LAKE — A Soap Lake physician assistant and owner of Soap Lake Family Medicine gave up his right to see patients after the state Medical Commission accused him of sexual misconduct with patients and employees.
John T. Bearup, 65, has been a licensed physician assistant for 24 years, according to records with the state Department of Health.
Bearup’s clinic was the only traditional medical clinic in the Soap Lake area, although a naturopath does have a practice there.
He voluntarily surrendered his license permanently in November after facing civil charges that he had inappropriate sexual contact with two patients and three employees, who were also his patients.
In a related action, a retired Quincy doctor who was charged with overseeing the physician assistant was also placed probation for two years.
According to charges, Bearup conducted sports physicals in 2009 for adolescent girls at Soap Lake Middle and High School without using a chaperone. “Several of the girls were uncomfortable with the un-chaperoned examination,” his charges state. School officials could not be reached to comment. The Wenatchee World has asked the state Department of Health for public documents relating to those complaints.
Bearup also worked at an unapproved remote site for about two years prior to November 2010, where his supervisor was rarely on site. He did not wear a name tag identifying himself as a physician assistant and “misled the public regarding his title by not correcting those who called him ‘doc,’” the charges said.
His supervisor — Wallace A. Newkirk, a licensed physician and surgeon in Quincy, is on probation for two years due to his part in overseeing the unapproved remote site, according to a Medical Commission disposition in October. Newkirk should have been at Bearup’s Soap Lake clinic at least 25 percent of the time, but was there only about eight hours every two weeks, the Commission’s disposition says. It also says that Newkirk is retired, but if he returns to his practice, he must obtain approval before supervising physician assistants.
Bearup could not be reached, and the phone to his clinic is disconnected.
According to charges by the Washington State Medical Commission:
Bearup kissed patient-employees on the lips, slapped or pinched their buttocks, pinched their nipples and lifted up their skirts.
He also made inappropriate sexually-related jokes in the office with employees and other patients, and encouraged staff to “keep a notebook in which they recorded statements made at the clinic that contained sexually-related double meanings.”
Some of his patients who also worked at the clinic underwent examinations in 2008 which included vaginal exams without using gloves, physical examinations without being offered a gown to wear, frequent checks for breast lumps without medical indication that the exams were needed, back massages, and a shared hotel room during a medical education seminar. Exams were made without a chaperone present, the charges state.
Some of the employees told the commission they were concerned about losing their jobs if they complained of their discomfort.
A search of state court filings showed no criminal charges against Bearup.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512