JBLM doctor accused of sexually abusing 40+ patients appears in court

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord doctor accused of sexually abusing dozens of male patients declined to enter a plea as he was arraigned on Friday afternoon.

Major Michael Stockin works as a pain doctor at JBLM’s Madigan Army Medical Center. Multiple men have come forward to tell their stories about how they went to Maj. Stockin as a patient seeking help, only to have their genitals groped under the guise of a sensory exam.

Charging documents, released following Friday’s arraignment, relay upwards of 50 dates in which Stockin allegedly touched a patient’s penis and/or scrotum.

A portion of the charges, or specifications, listed describing various dates and acts Maj. Stockin is accused of.

The case is already causing shockwaves in Washington, D.C., where there have been calls for an Inspector General investigation into the handling of the investigation into Stockin.

Ryan Guilds, an attorney representing seven victims in the case, and Protect our Defenders, a human rights group that offers pro bono legal services, have been in contact with members of the Senate Armed Services Committee about what they called "deeply serious issues with the U.S. Military."

According to Protect Our Defenders, more than half of the victims in the Stockin case are currently not being represented.

Beyond legal representation, there are questions about a lack of victim assistance in navigating everything from legal proceedings to counseling services.

"The Stockin case should be a code red for the Pentagon," said Josh Connolly, senior vice president of Protect our Defenders. "Survivors, our elected officials, and advocates worked for years on reforms to ensure that victims are afforded these basic resources, yet the military has not carried out the spirit nor letter of the laws."

As for Stockin, he has yet to put in a plea, but it appears his team is preparing for the case to unfold in court.

Robert Capovilla, a defense attorney, told FOX 13 that the fight is just getting started, urging people to keep an open mind while noting Stockin is presumed innocent until found otherwise.

"We understand, without exception – that in today’s political culture – the media will continue to condemn Major Stockin and render judgment before a jury or judge even hears evidence," Capovilla said.

Stockin is now required to keep both his higher-ups and his legal counsel in the loop about his whereabouts at all times. He remains out of custody, and freely left the courtroom after spending more than four hours within the court complex on Friday.

The unusually long arraignment stemmed from a number of peculiar circumstances, including videos from investigators that were leaked. That led attorneys for Stockin to request a protective order regarding discovery from the trial.

Guilds, who is not trying the case but is representing alleged victims, was given a chance to raise concerns about the scope of what was akin to a gag order, arguing that it could create issues for lawyers' ongoing work with their clients.

The judge ultimately decided not to make a ruling but noted expediency was key given concerns that Stockin has requested a military panel be convened to rule on his guilt or innocence. Since that panel must outrank him and be assigned to JBLM, the pool is much more limited than a typical civilian jury pool, creating concerns about what materials could be published and bias their opinion.


JBLM doctor accused of sexually assaulting 42 patients faces over 50 charges

Army investigators have now identified 42 sexual assault victims tied to a doctor at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, who is accused of preying on male patients.

Following the hearing, Guilds told FOX 13 that he could not get into specifics of the trial and everything that took place within the courtroom. However, he made it clear that the journey for his clients has been long.

"I’m incredibly grateful to my clients who have been so brave in coming forward," said Guilds, of Arnold & Porter. "I look forward to continuing to support them for a long and difficult journey ahead."

He called the process to this point frustrating, echoing the letter he sent U.S. Senators late last month. 

Sex assault within the military has been a sore topic for some time. Over the past several years, there has been a push to revise how these types of cases are handled. 

Stockin's case is one of the first to be handled by the all-new Army Office of Special Trial Counsel (OSTC). The move was made to remove charging decisions for sexual assault, and other violent crimes, out of a chain of command that has created roadblocks for past victims. 

The OSTC kept their comments to the case in particular, offering a statement that reads in part: "We are confident that the facts and evidence support a conviction and that will be demonstrated when the case goes to trial on Oct. 7."