Twenty-two more women and girls have come forward to accuse a retired Norwell pediatrician of sexual abuse, prosecutors revealed in court Monday.
Dr. Richard A. Kauff, 68, is already facing rape and assault charges for allegedly abusing two of his former patients — now grown women — during their annual physical exams. He was arraigned in Hingham District Court Monday and pleaded not guilty to four counts of child rape with force and a dozen counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
Since Kauff was charged earlier this month, 22 additional former patients have come forward with allegations, including two juveniles, prosecutor Jeremy Beth Kusmin told the court.
“We are not sure if the number could keep growing,” Kusmin said, per WCVB footage from the arraignment. “It has been growing exponentially since the onset of these cases became public.”
She said prosecutors expect to bring “dozens of more similar-type charges” against Kauff, who was formerly associated with South Shore Medical Center. If convicted on any one of the four felony rape charges, Kauff could spend the rest of his life in prison, Kusmin said.
DA: Allegations against former pediatrician are ‘very disturbing’
The allegations against Kauff date back to the early 1990s and came to light last month, when one of the two initial accusers posted in a local Facebook group asking if digital penetration was a routine part of a pediatric checkup, according to a Norwell police report. She connected with another woman who said she’d had similar experiences, and they soon discovered that Kauff was the common denominator.
According to the police report, both women told investigators that Kauff would instruct them to count to three before inserting his fingers, warning that it would feel “like a rocket ship.” They alleged that the pediatrician abused them even when their parents were in the room, reportedly using his body to shield his actions from view.
Norwell doctor charged with sexually assaulting girls during physical exams
Kauff’s lawyer, Kelli Lea Porges, said the retired doctor “adamantly denies the charges,” according to The Patriot Ledger.
Describing her client as “a lifelong member of the community,” Porges said three people approached Kauff in the court’s lobby on Monday to shake his hand and voice their support, the Ledger reported.
Kauff’s bail was set at $50,000 cash. According to court records, he was ordered to stay away from his alleged victims and barred from practicing medicine and having unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16, among other conditions.
Kauff has already signed a voluntary agreement not to practice medicine, according to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine website.
He previously reflected on his “tremendously rewarding” 39-year career in an archived blog post ahead of his retirement from South Shore Medical Center in July 2022.
In a statement provided to Boston.com earlier this month, South Shore Health — which operates South Shore Medical Center — said it was taking the allegations seriously and would fully cooperate with any investigation.
“We are also prepared to help the young women who have come forward with charges against this physician, a former pediatrician who is no longer affiliated with South Shore Medical Center, and will always be prepared to help any of our current or former patients,” South Shore Health said.
Reflecting on the allegations outside the courthouse Monday, Plymouth District Attorney Tim Cruz said the accusations are “very disturbing,” according to WBZ-TV footage.
“I think what it shows is that there’s obviously been a breach of trust between a doctor and a patient’s relationship,” Cruz said.
Kauff is due back in court on Jan. 11 for a probable cause hearing.
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