Former Beckley VAMC doctor arrested

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A former Beckley VAMC doctor was arrested by the FBI earlier this morning.

A doctor of osteopathic medicine who formerly worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia, has been charged in a criminal complaint with depriving a veteran of his civil rights under color of law. Dr. Jonathan Yates, 51, was arrested without incident at his home today by Special Agents of the FBI and the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, with the assistance of the Bluefield, Virginia Police Department. Dr. Yates is scheduled for an initial appearance today at 1:00 pm before U.S. Magistrate Judge Omar Aboulhosn.

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, U.S. Attorney Michael B. Stuart for the Southern District of West Virginia, FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel, and Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael J. Missal announced the charge.

According to the criminal complaint, while working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in February 2019, Yates examined a male patient identified as Veteran 1, and during the examination Yates sexually molested Veteran 1.  Yates caused Veteran 1 severe pain and numbness, and temporarily incapacitated him by cracking his neck, after Veteran 1 had explicitly requested Yates not to crack his neck. While Veteran 1 was incapacitated, Yates sexually molested Veteran 1 again.  This conduct, performed while Dr. Yates was acting under color of law in his capacity as a federal employee at the VAMC, deprived Veteran 1 of his constitutional right to bodily integrity.

This investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5342).

The charge contained in the complaint are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Deprivation of rights under color of law as charged in the complaint is punishable by up to life in prison.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Veterans Affairs Police Department. The U.S. Attorney’s Office sought immediate detention in this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel and Trial Attorney Kyle Boynton of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg McVey of the Southern District of West Virginia.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can Follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com