WATSONVILLE — Watsonville Police and the Medical Board of California are investigating allegations that a Watsonville pediatrician behaved inappropriately with one of his patients.
According to Watsonville Police spokeswoman Michelle Pulido, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office took a report in May 2018 that Dr. Patrick Clyne performed “improper medical practices” during the exam of a child. The case was forwarded to WPD, Pulido added.
“We’ve been investigating since May of 2018,” she said.
Pulido declined to comment further.
“We want to make sure we’re protecting the case in its entirety,” she said.
Clyne, 57, was still practicing medicine Monday at Pediatric Medical Group of Watsonville at 222 Green Valley Road.
He told reporters that he was unaware of an investigation.
“I have no idea what they thought I did. I have no response to it,” he said. “I do probably, a thousand, 1,500 encounters a year. I don't think I do anything different than other pediatricians.”
Clyne also told reporters that, while he has been investigated, he has never been charged.
This is not the first time Clyne has faced sexual abuse allegations. He was investigated for numerous crimes including sexual assault and lewd acts with a child dating from 2009-2011 when he was a chief pediatrician working for the foster care system in Santa Clara County, and serving as a foster parent there, court records showed.
In one of those cases, a girl reported that Clyne made her squat “like a frog” on an exam table and touched her vagina, court records show.
Clyne was not charged with those crimes after a grand jury did not indict him in 2002.
Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Terry Harman said that a review of the case, “led to a determination that we could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Clyne was also investigated in 2001 for allegedly molesting two foster children who lived with him, but a grand jury did not return an indictment, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Lucy Jeronimo said she has been taking her sons, 9 and 11, to Clyne since they were born. She describes him as professional, friendly and attentive physician who makes his cell phone number available to the families of his patients.
Jeronimo said she has always been in the room during visits, during which Clyne is attentive and always describes what he is going to do.
In addition, Clyne makes follow-up calls and calls to check up on her sons if they go to the emergency room, she said.
“Dr. Clyne as an amazing doctor,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade him for another doctor.”
Jeronimo said she was angry about the media attention the case has garnered.
“I consider him a professional,” she said. “I have never seen anything inappropriate.”
“Everybody is innocent until proven guilty,” she said.
Pediatric Medical Group office manager Darryl Green, who is also a doctor, said he stands by Clyne.
“The entire office stands by the doctor,” he said.
Green added that no doctor is alone with young patients.
“There is always a parent or a medical assistant,” he said.
The public attention brought to the clinic, Green said, is “a real smear.”
“(Clyne) is very professional,” he said. “He’s never in the exam room alone, but with a parent or a medical assistant. And it’s very sad that this is being tried in the media before the investigation and before he can clear his name.”
State Medical Board spokesman Carlos Villatoro confirmed the agency is aware of the allegations, but declined to comment further.
Clyne still retains his license, but that could change if the State Medical Board, which is responsible for licensing doctors, files a complaint with the California Attorney General’s office.
According to Villatoro, the board investigates egregious violations by doctors such as inappropriate drug prescriptions, drug abuse and sexual misconduct. If the agency finds “clear and convincing evidence” that a violation has occurred, the case is forwarded to the state attorney general’s office.
Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to call Watsonville Police detectives at 768-3358.
* Editor's note: this story was updated at 3:37 p.m. on April 16 to include an interview with the mother of two of Clyne's patients.