Detroit

Ex-UM doctor charged in child porn case

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Detroit – A University of Michigan-affiliated doctor was arrested and charged with receiving and possessing child pornography in a federal complaint unsealed Monday.

The complaint against Mark Hoeltzel, 46, of Ann Arbor, was unsealed a month after he left his job amid sexual misconduct claims, including allegations the pediatric rheumatologist had sex with a patient at work.

Hoeltzel was arrested after flying into Detroit Metropolitan Airport after undergoing six weeks of treatment for sex addiction at a clinic in Philadelphia. He arrived at federal court in handcuffs and a blue polo shirt and was ordered held without bond pending a hearing Wednesday.

“He is demonstrating to the community, by seeking treatment, that he has an issue but he is dealing with it appropriately,” defense lawyer Raymond Cassar told The Detroit News, noting that Hoeltzel is presumed innocent.

Receiving child pornography is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, while the possession charge is a 10-year felony. A state criminal investigation is ongoing.

The investigation dates to Dec. 4, when investigators received information that he was having a sexual relationship with a female patient.

The patient told investigators she had received treatment from Hoeltzel since she was a child. When she was 18, Hoeltzel texted her, instructing her to make an appointment, according to court records.

“During her first appointment at (Hoeltzel’s) clinic, he grabbed her from behind, pulled her butt into his groin, and rubbed his erect penis on her,” U.S. Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Michael MacBride wrote in the complaint.

During the next three years, the patient and Hoeltzel engaged in regular and frequent sex acts at his clinic, the agent wrote. The doctor also had sex with the patient at her apartment, the government alleges.

Hoeltzel talked to the patient about his 12-15-year-old female patients, describing them as “hot,” according to the complaint.

A state investigator reviewed Hoeltzel’s prescriptions for the female patient and determined the number of medications was beyond recommendations for a patient with rheumatoid arthritis, according to court records.

The state investigation led to Hoeltzel being suspended by his employer.

Last month, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office said that from 2004-06, the doctor also sent “flirtatious and suggestive” messages with a girl he first met through a UM arthritis camp when she was 11. After the mother reported it, university officials required him to undergo a “boundaries course,” according to the complaint.

Citing those instances, the attorney general argued Hoeltzel’s license should be suspended for failing to exercise due care, showing incompetence, lacking moral character and unprofessional conduct.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ professional licensing bureau agreed and on Dec. 21, ordered the license suspended. State online licensing records show a license was issued June 6, 2013.

The federal investigation intensified on Dec. 12. That’s when investigators searched his Ann Arbor home and seized electronic devices, including a flash drive.

An investigator found approximately 210 images of child pornography on the device, according to federal court records.

“The images primarily consisted of minor females with their genitals exposed in a lascivious manner,” the agent wrote.

Investigators searched a laptop seized from his home and found approximately 94 images of child pornography, the government alleges.

Hoeltzel was removed from patient care duties in early December when his superiors learned about the state inquiry. He resigned Jan. 12.

The university and Michigan Medicine reported Hoeltzel to law enforcement and officials are cooperating with investigators.

“These are very disturbing and serious allegations, and we have reached out to our patients to inform them of concerns related to Dr. Hoeltzel, offer resources and provide them with a way to report any concerns,” Marschall Runge, executive vice president of medical affairs for UM and CEO of Michigan Medicine, said in a statement Monday.

An internal investigation is underway, Runge added.

“We must and will continue to do everything possible to protect the patients who entrust Michigan Medicine with their care,” Runge said. “We also urge everyone to report any instances of potential misconduct that occur.”

rsnell@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2486

Twitter: @robertsnellnews

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