By Abby Patkin - Boston News - 07.11.2023 - [USA] - [Richard A. Kauff] A former South Shore Medical Center pediatrician is facing rape and assault charges after he allegedly sexually abused young girls during their annual physical exams.
According to court records, two former patients came forward last month with allegations that Dr. Richard A. Kauff sexually assaulted them when they were children — accusations that date back more than 20 years.
The Norwell doctor is charged with four counts of child rape with force and a dozen counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, court records show. Kauff’s criminal charges were first reported by The Patriot Ledger. The accusations came to light after one of Kauff’s alleged victims wrote an anonymous post in the Facebook group “Mamas of the South Shore” last month, asking if it was normal for a pediatrician to insert their fingers into a patient’s vagina during an annual checkup, according to a Norwell police report filed in Hingham District Court.
The woman later told detectives she recently began therapy and discussed with her therapist how she felt “uncomfortable” during childhood visits to the doctor, police said. When she explained what happened during those appointments, the therapist stopped the session and advised her to contact the police, according to the report.
She reportedly told police she left the therapy session feeling confused, which led to her Facebook post.
“The response she received from the post was overwhelming in that what had happened to her was not the norm,” a detective wrote in the report.
Another woman replied to the post and indicated that she’d had similar experiences as a child. Police said the two women — otherwise total strangers — soon discovered that Kauff was the common denominator.
Other commonalities emerged as both women reported the alleged abuse to the Norwell Police Department, investigators said.
One alleged that Kauff assaulted her during annual physicals between 1990 and 2002, starting when she was about 7 years old. The other told police that the abuse started when she was about 8 years old and lasted from 1998 to 2008, according to the police report.
Both women allegedly told investigators that Kauff would tell them to count to three before inserting his fingers, warning that it would feel “like a rocket ship.” They also denied having any diagnoses or ailments that would require an internal vaginal exam, according to the report.
The women told detectives that the alleged assaults occurred even when their parents were in the room, accusing Kauff of positioning himself in such a way that his body shielded his actions from view, police said.
According to the police report, Norwell detectives consulted a pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner, “who stated that an internal pelvic exam was not a normal or routine exam, nor should it be done at a routine pediatric exam.”
Pediatrician had no history of disciplinary action, records show
When efforts to reach Kauff by phone failed, a Norwell detective drove to the doctor’s home on Oct. 11 and tried to schedule a time for Kauff to speak with police. When Kauff learned of the sexual assault allegations against him, he “became extremely upset and didn’t understand how this could be,” police said.
“Dr. Kauff stated that he had practiced medicine for over forty years without a single issue,” according to the report.
Though he initially agreed to speak with police, Kauff later contacted a detective saying he had obtained legal counsel and would not be coming down to the station. Boston.com has reached out to Kauff’s lawyer for comment.
Kauff has not yet entered a plea on the charges; he is due for arraignment in Hingham District Court on Nov. 20. His profile on the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine website, meanwhile, shows an active license and no record of disciplinary action.
In a blog post ahead of his retirement from South Shore Medical Center in July 2022, he described “a tremendously rewarding 39-year career as a primary care pediatrician.”
“My days have been full of mostly laughter (and a few tears),” he wrote. “I am in debt to all of the parents who trusted me with the care of their children, as well as the children who made me smile every day.”
South Shore Health, which operates South Shore Medical Center, confirmed in a statement to Boston.com that Kauff is no longer affiliated with the practice.
“We are deeply concerned by what we have heard reported in the media,” South Shore Health said. “We are taking this very seriously and will cooperate fully with any investigation. At this point, our focus is on how to best assist and support all of our patients, families, and staff. We are also prepared to help the young women who have come forward with charges against this physician … and will always be prepared to help any of our current or former patients.”
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.