Things just got a whole lot worse for Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.). According to a new report from the Chattanooga Times Free Press the congressman, who is also a doctor, admitted to sexual relationships with multiple patients and co-workers during sworn testimony at his divorce trial and urged his now-ex-wife to get two abortions, despite campaigning for Congress as an antiabortion rights, family values candidate.
Court transcript reveals new details about DesJarlais’ interactions with a 24-year-old-patient, who claimed she became pregnant with DesJarlais’ child during a short fling in 2000 and that the doctor later pressed her to have an abortion.
DesJarlais, who is now 48 years old, admitted in court to pressuring the woman over the phone to get an abortion, but said the whole conversation was a scheme orchestrated by him and his wife to get the 24-year-old to admit she was not really pregnant.
“She goes, ‘I will have an abortion. This will never be a problem of yours,’” DesJarlais said. “And I think that she was trying to get me to pay her money and I refused to because there was no proof of the pregnancy.”
DesJarlais’ attorney, Stephen Greer, unsuccessfully pressed the 24-year-old patient to admit that she had never been pregnant.
“Mr. [Thomas] Austin asked you about your pregnancy or whatever. You apparently weren’t pregnant, were you?” he asked.
“Yes,” the woman retorted. “I was.”
Ultimately, the woman refused to offer more details when attorneys asked her about the outcome of her pregnancy.
“I really don’t care to answer that,” she said. “I mean, I don’t have a child by Dr. DesJarlais and that’s a personal thing.”
DesJarlais stated in testimony that he carried on a four-month sexual affair with another patient, a woman he prescribed pills for during their relationship. He stressed that there was “nothing wrong” with the prescriptions he wrote, which included the painkiller Darvocet, and was indignant when asked about claims he had handled medication improperly.
“I don’t feel real obligated to respond to that. I think it’s ludicrous,” he said. “I’ve never been challenged or questioned in terms of my integrity before.”
“Does that hospital not care that you are fooling around with patients out there?” DesJarlais’ wife’s attorney Thomas Austin grilled.
“They have not complained to me,” said DesJarlais.
According to the American Medical Association, “Sexual contact that occurs concurrent with the patient-physician relationship constitutes sexual misconduct.”
DesJarlais won reelection with just slightly less of the vote than he took in his first campaign in 2010. He defeated state Sen. Eric Stewart (D) 56 percent to 44 percent.