As he begins his new practice in Hephzibah, Arun Jain says he has a new inner peace from a guru and renewed faith in his Hindu religion. He doesn't feel he should still be punished for the sexual misconduct charges against him in Louisville, Ga., five years ago.
Dr. Jain and the state of Pennsylvania agreed earlier this year he would give up his license there, but that action all stems from what the state of Georgia began five years ago.
In January 1993, the Georgia Composite State Board of Medical Examiners suspended Dr. Jain's license for six months and put him on five years' probation. He was ordered not to treat a female patient without a nurse in the room, and to undergo periodic psychiatric evaluations.
The board heard testimony from patients who said that Dr. Jain had fondled them, and from one patient who said he penetrated her during a pelvic exam. Others accused him of rubbing up against them or of unzipping his pants in front of them. The board's hearing officer recommended revoking the license, but the board felt that punishment was too harsh.
Dr. Jain said his attorneys at the time prevented him from testifying, and he later went back on his own to try to present his side.
"Yes, I made mistakes," he said, but not like what was alleged. "The charges have not been proven. I was a little more friendly with one patient. (But) there was nothing of any criminal nature, ever."
He did admit that "there was some touching involved." But criminal charges were not pursued because the witnesses backed out and the prosecutor knew he had a weak case, Dr. Jain said.
Dr. Jain was indicted in Jefferson County on one count of criminal attempt to commit an assault, said Rick Malone, district attorney for the Middle Judicial Circuit, which includes Jefferson County. While the evidence was "compelling," the witnesses were "reluctant," Mr. Malone said.
Prosecutors talked to the Georgia Board of Medical Examiners and were under the impression that Dr. Jain's license was going to be revoked, Mr. Malone said. Then Dr. Jain went home to India and the case against him was put on the "dead docket," which means it is not actively being pursued, Mr. Malone said. But it's still an open case and could be prosecuted, Mr. Malone said.
"I would sure like to know what he's doing," Mr. Malone said.
Dr. Jain returned to the country in August after five years and decided to set up shop in Hephzibah because it is close to Augusta but not as competitive.
"The response is tremendous," he said. Other doctors had looked at the area "because they knew the Hephzibah area was growing," said Mayor D.B. Atkins. "I've used him. I think my wife's been up there also."
Even though he owns Hephzibah Pharmacy across the street, Terry Johnston said he knew nothing of Dr. Jain's background.
"I don't have any idea about it," Mr. Johnston said.
Since the suspension, there have been no complaints filed against him and Dr. Jain said he is following the requirements of his probation, including quarterly visits to a psychiatrist, to the letter. Medical assistant Martha Williams, who has worked for Dr. Jain for seven years, said she hasn't seen any problem with patients and is always in the room if Dr. Jain is treating a female patient.
There were some actions taken against Dr. Jain in other states based on what Georgia did. In Pennsylvania, Dr. Jain said he just had the license and had never practiced there, anyway. He also had a license, now suspended, in Tennessee, but had never practiced there, either.
He says he is a changed man due to a deeper understanding of his Hindu faith. While in India, he consulted with the guru Vidyasagar, whose picture he carries in his wallet.
On his most recent visit with psychiatrist Stewart Shevitz, whose report Dr. Jain offered, Dr. Shevitz writes that Dr. Jain "feels that this has helped him control some of his feelings and has helped him cope better with life."
Dr. Jain said he now prays three hours a day and only wishes to get his practice established and be treated as he treats others.
"Just look at me," he pleaded. "If I make a mistake, throw me out. I've paid the price for this. I'm paying for it even now."
Staff Writer Sandy Hodson contributed to this report