Iowa doctor sued over alleged sexual exploitation of patient

By: - March 21, 2023 12:02 pm

A former patient is accusing an Iowa physician in a lawsuit of sexual exploitation and negligence. (Photo illustration via Canva)

An Iowa physician is being sued by a former patient who is accusing him of sexual exploitation and negligence.

The lawsuit, filed by a Linn County woman using the pseudonym Jane Doe, accuses Dr. Scott Piper of Cedar Rapids’ Piper Family Medicine of perpetuating a personal, sexual relationship that crossed professional boundaries and also involved the regular prescribing of drugs to address mental health issues.

The plaintiff has offered as evidence what she describes as a series of written Facebook messages and texts between herself and Piper.

According to Doe, whose age is not disclosed in the lawsuit, Piper served as her primary care provider as far back as 2013. Over the years, he treated her for anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder and polysubstance abuse, according to the lawsuit.

In September 2020, Piper allegedly sent Doe message that said, “It’s been a while. Hope you are doing well despite the pandemic and derecho. Been a crazy year, huh? Just wanted to catch up. Scott.”

The two then exchanged messages, leading up to an October message from Piper that allegedly stated, “So after I cut you off your mom messaged me on Facebook. Accusing me of giving you prescriptions basically for sex. And she supposedly had messages or texts where i asked you to breakfast. I had no idea what she was talking about … She was going to turn me in to the state medical board. It was all weird. I just didn’t answer.”

Later, Piper allegedly wrote again to say, “I certainly don’t recall asking you to breakfast. And even if I did, there is nothing wrong with that. I’m friends with a lot of my patients.”

In April 2021, Piper allegedly messaged Doe and wrote: “I want to make sure that you know. My friendship has been one of admiration as you try to overcome your old life … But I want to be clear, in case this is something that you have worried about, that I have no interest romantically whatsoever. I’m trying to figure out how to save my own marriage. That’s hard enough lol.”

In May 2021, Piper allegedly sent messages inviting Doe to talk, and after receiving no response, wrote: “Time for a booty call but no time to get your meds. I see how it is,” and later wrote: “You suck.”

In September 2021, after another series of exchanges, Piper allegedly messaged Doe: “Don’t you dare get pissy and cut me off like this yet again. I mean, wtf. I’m trying my —-ing hardest to help you despite being treated like —-.”

Shortly thereafter, Doe was evaluated by another doctor who allegedly wrote in her notes that Doe was “off substances” but had severe opioid-use disorder.

In October 2021, Doe alleges, she and Piper engaged in sex, which reportedly led to messages in which Doe accused Piper of prescribing her drugs to control her behavior – an allegation Piper allegedly denied.

In December 2021, Piper allegedly sent Doe a message, offering to “run up and drop off your keys” and then, in an apparent reference to her treatment, informed her that “from now on I can’t do anything without a legit appt.”

Doe allegedly responded: “Right, and what about less 3 am visits for sex with your patient then stop all meds and contact and make it then feel like they did something wrong.”

In January 2022, Piper allegedly messaged Doe about some sort financial arrangement between the two, stating that he “got the line of credit converted to a loan” and that he was hoping she could begin making payments on that loan, writing, “All I need is the 2500 and then the 350 that I loaned you from past rent. No interest or fees. Pretty sure you can pay me via PayPal. I have my bank account linked to it. My daughter is needing a new used car soon so we can use the money. Thanks.”

Another physician who was treating Doe at the time allegedly stated in her notes that Doe had a “complex relationship” with her primary care provider who had cut off all of Doe’s psychiatric medications.

The lawsuit alleges Piper knew or had reason to know that Doe was significantly impaired with regard to her ability to withhold consent to sexual conduct, and also claims Piper inappropriately treated her for mental health and substance abuse issues.

Piper has yet to file a response to the lawsuit and could not be reached for comment Monday and Tuesday. According to the Iowa Board of Medicine, Piper has no history of public disciplinary action related to his medical license.

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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.