A former patient has filed a civil lawsuit on Tuesday against a Boston-based physician, alleging that she experienced sexual misconduct under his care.
Marianne DiTrani filed the complaint in Suffolk Superior Court against Dr. Derrick Todd, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and two other organizations. The lawsuit represents 34 other women who also claim they were assaulted by Todd.
At a press conference in Boston on Tuesday, Ditrani alleged that Todd performed pelvic and breast exams on her that were not medically necessary and talked inappropriately about sex.
“When you trust someone to help you, you see them and you're very vulnerable,” she said. “And when they violate that trust, and they hurt you instead of heal you, it can be very frightening and not easy to process.
DiTrani moved to Massachusetts to be treated for a joint and skin condition by Todd, who was a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital.
She said the assaults started during her first appointment with Todd in November 2022. She began seeing Todd remotely in January until he pressured her to return for more in-person visits in June and July, she alleges.
“A predator like this who's in a power, the power of trust from a doctor is one of the most dangerous people because they can push boundaries and do it under the guise of this is continued medical care,” said Brian Perkins, one of DiTrani’s lawyers.
DiTrani also claims that the hospital and other organizations were aware of the assault because she sent emails that they had access to.
“He is a specialist in very rare autoimmune rheumatologic conditions, and he wasn't performing MRIs on those on my bones. I was suffering in pain, but he was insisting upon continual gynecological exams,” she said. “I did email him. I did call him out on it, and I was furious.”
According to the lawsuit, Todd had subjected DiTrani to “a course of predatory grooming, boundary violating, mental, emotional, and physical sexual abuse that was masked by his position of power and authority.”
Brigham and Women’s launched an initial investigation after two doctors filed complaints and patients began sharing their concerns about the exams.
Todd is currently being investigated by the state Board of Registration in Medicine. Todd voluntarily agreed to not to practice medicine in Massachusetts or any other state.
He was terminated from Brigham and Women’s Hospital last week.
In an email to GBH, Brigham and Women’s Hospital said that they’ve reached out to Todd’s patients to offer resources and information and deeply regret the harm this has caused them.
DiTrani said she has decided to come forward publicly because she wants to encourage others to speak out and seek help.
“Predators are very adept at finding their prey. They are picking up on cues that nobody else, even ourselves cannot see,” she said. “And this thing I cannot emphasize enough. None of this is in the victim's control. None of this is the victim’s fault.”
DiTrani’s lawyers suspect that Todd has assaulted more than 100 patients.
In an email to GBH, Todd’s lawyer Ingrid Martin said that Todd believes that he has done nothing wrong and will defend against such claims vigorously.