North Bay doctor loses license after accusations of sexually assaulting drugged patients
A Santa Rosa psychiatrist who worked for multiple North Bay counties had his license revoked earlier this month after the state medical board investigated allegations that he sexually assaulted two patients at his clinic between 2017 and 2019.
The Osteopathic Medical Board of California revoked Dr. Cuyler Burns Goodwin’s physician license on March 8, according to state records, a decision that will take effect April 7.
Also according to state records, while the claims were corroborated by witnesses, experts, employees and victims — they were not proven in a court of law and criminal charges have not been filed against Goodwin.
The board came to its conclusion after a three-month investigation into accusations first made by patients of Goodwin’s Santa Rosa practice, Sequoia Mind Health. Their claims were submitted in a complaint to the state regulatory body in November 2020.
Goodwin was accused of having a sexual relationship with a patient’s sister, whom he allegedly prescribed abortion medication for after she became pregnant; he allegedly sexually assaulted another patient; and he also was accused of raping another patient while she underwent a ketamine treatment. Following the alleged attack, he escorted her out to her husband who was waiting in the lobby of Goodwin’s practice, according to the complaint.
In a written decision, the state board found that Goodwin’s actions constituted “sexual misconduct, sexual exploitation, ... unprofessional conduct, gross negligence, repeated negligent acts, incompetence, a violation of ethical standards, and a failure to maintain adequate and accurate medical records."
Phone calls and emails to numbers and addresses associated with Goodwin were not answered Monday. His attorney also did not respond to a request for comment by Press Democrat deadline.
However, according to court records, Goodwin categorically denied all allegations during the investigation, with members of his family testifying on his behalf.
Goodwin closed Sequoia Mind Health in October 2019.
After the board’s first complaint, the doctor worked as a contractor for other agencies such as Sonoma County Behavioral Health, Mendocino County Jail and Lake County Jail, records indicate.
Most recently, Goodwin served as a psychiatrist for Redwood Quality Management Company in Ukiah.
“The county takes allegations of sexual assault very seriously and we are looking further into this situation,” Tina Rivera, the director of the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said that “prior to working within the facility, (Goodwin) underwent a background check, which included fingerprinting and a check of his criminal history.”
Alongside the license revocation, Administrative Law Judge Holly M. Baldwin ordered Goodwin to pay the Osteopathic Medical Board of California almost $65,000 as reimbursements for its costs of investigation and enforcement.
Three patients allege misconduct
In its November 2020 complaint, the medical board accused Goodwin of three instances of acting unprofessionally and unethically as a medical director and psychiatrist at Sequoia Mind Health.
The first involved Patient A, a young man with schizophrenia, whom Goodwin was treating at his home between June 2017 to January 2019.
Goodwin became romantically and sexually involved with Patient A’s sister, who got pregnant during their relationship, the board’s decision states.
The sister claimed that Goodwin prescribed her misoprostol, medication that can induce an abortion, without conducting a medical examination or creating a medical record — an allegation Goodwin disputed.
The other two alleged incidents involved women who were employees and patients of Goodwin’s clinic, where they underwent ketamine treatments, which the board said violated ethical principles and professional boundaries.
With Patient B, Goodwin asked her inappropriate sexual questions and sexually assaulted her one day after work, records say. In the most severe accusation, Goodwin allegedly drugged and raped Patient C during a treatment.
In both instances, Goodwin acknowledged the unprofessional nature of the dual employee-patient relationships, but denied any of the sexual actions.
Instead, he contended his accusers were making up allegations to seek revenge and that they were delusional at the time because of their mental disorders and ketamine treatment.
“This far-fetched theory is not persuasive,” the board’s decision reads.
Goodwin’s sister, wife and mother, who each worked at Sequoia Mind Health at various points, also testified in his defense during the investigation, but their statements and Goodwin’s were determined to be unreliable and inconsistent.
You can reach Staff Writer Emily Wilder at 707-521-5337 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @vv1lder.