Physician assistant accused of domestic abuse and sex with a patient wins back license

By: - April 19, 2021 2:12 pm

(Photo via Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners)

The Iowa Board of Physician Assistants has agreed to reinstate the license of a Primghar man who had sex with a patient and was later charged with domestic abuse.

In 2018, the board received a complaint that licensee Anthony G. Peters of Primghar had engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient. According to the board, Peters responded to the complaint by sending the board a letter denying the allegation and disparaging the reputation of the patient.

Peters later acknowledged he had lied in his letter, and he admitted the allegations against him were true and that he had maintained a sexual relationship with the patient for about four months, according to the board. Peters initially began providing care for the patient when she was still a minor, the board alleges.

Peters surrendered his license and completed a comprehensive professional sexual misconduct evaluation in 2020, as well as a two-day course on professional boundaries and ethics before applying for reinstatement.

In June 2020, Peters was arrested and charged with domestic abuse assault, child endangerment, and obstruction of an emergency call. Police allege Peters kneed a woman in the stomach and knocked the woman’s child to the floor when the child attempted to intervene. Prosecutors later dismissed the child endangerment charge and obstruction charges, and Peters was granted a deferred judgment on the domestic abuse charge.

According to the board, “the incident was subject to a child abuse registry assessment by the Department of Human Services.” The board alleges Peters testified that allegations of denial of critical care and failure to provide proper supervision were initially founded, but that finding was subsequently amended to the violations being confirmed, with no placement on the registry.

The Board of Physician Assistants agreed recently to reinstate Peters’ license, stating that he “has addressed the issues that led to the surrender of his physician assistant license and that it is in the public interest for his license to be reinstated.” His practice will be subject to monitoring and supervision during a one-year period of probation.

Other licensing board actions

Eric O’Leary of Norwalk is charged by the Iowa Board of Mortuary Science with obtaining or possessing illegal controlled substances, and with violating the terms of an impaired-practitioner recovery contract with the board.

Court records indicate that in 2019, O’Leary was arrested and charged with the felony offenses of manufacturing or delivery of methamphetamine and staging gatherings where controlled substances are unlawfully used. The former charge was dismissed and the latter charge resulted in a conviction based on a search of O’Leary’s home that uncovered methamphetamine and related supplies.

In March 2020, O’Leary entered into an Impaired-practitioner recovery contract with the board when he agreed to participate in a chemical screening program and abstain from using any non-prescribed drugs or alcohol.

While under that contract, he allegedly tested positive for methamphetamine. He also is accused of failing to call into the testing company between Jan. 31, 2021, and Feb. 15, 2021. The Board of Mortuary Science has scheduled a hearing on the matter for June 21.

— The Iowa Board of Chiropractic delayed for the third time a hearing on the license of Joshua Blake Hanisch of Ankeny, a chiropractor practicing in Des Moines.

In April and May of 2020, Hanisch was arrested and charged with multiple drug and sexual assault offenses, including five counts of sexual abuse in the second degree; one count of possessing depictions of a minor engaged in sex; two counts of indecent contact with a child; two counts of third-degree sexual abuse; two counts of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse; two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; and four counts of possession of a controlled substance.

The charges stemmed from allegations by police that Hanisch assaulted multiple children while they rode on his lap on a golf cart, and that he assaulted several patients, including children, at the office of Hanisch Chiropractic, 4539 Douglas Ave., in Des Moines. Hanisch is also accused of keeping controlled substances on his desk at the chiropractic office, in his home and at his cabin in Perry.

A jury trial is scheduled for November. Hanisch’s chiropractic license was suspended through an emergency order issued in April 2020. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 13.

— The Iowa Board of Barbering has charged Terence Mills, owner of the American College of Hairstyling, with operating without a license.

The board alleges that at the time of an inspection last August, 14 students were enrolled and taking classes at the school, although its license had expired months before.

The students “have suffered and will suffer financial and other harm due to attending an unlicensed barber school,” the board alleges. A hearing is scheduled for June 14.


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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.