According to the Associated Press, pediatrician Melvin Levine walked into a wooded area near his North Carolina home and shot himself in the forehead with a shotgun last week. The world-famous doctor had a stellar career helping children across the country but had always been followed by scattered reports of inappropriate behavior with some of his young male patients. In recent years, a flood of accusations from former patients led to a class action lawsuit against the hospital where Levine spent much of his career. The medical malpractice lawsuit states that the hospital did not appropriately supervise the doctor even after reports of molestation were made.
The doctor left behind a suicide note as well as a personal journal – both of which stressed his innocence. The journal stated that he thought the men were perhaps joining the class action lawsuit just to profit. Some believe as many as 5,000 young boys were taken advantage of during the 71-year-old doctor’s tenure at the hospital.
The alleged victims of abuse expressed a range of emotions regarding the suicide, with many stating that they were both sad and angered by the man. Many have said that during their medical exams the doctor conducted unnecessary genital exams or even performed oral sex on them. One former patient, now in his 50s, said that the doctor took him on a vacation where he was repeatedly sexually abused in a hotel room.
The class action lawsuit against the hospital is slated to continue despite the doctor’s death.