Rhode Island Doctor Accused of Misconduct Amends Libel Suit

A Rhode Island oncologist amended his defamation lawsuit this week against a former cancer patient and others he says published and distributed “false accusations of sexual assault and dishonesty” about him as part of a campaign to destroy his personal and professional reputation.

Dr. Timothy J. Kinsella also alleges false statements were circulated about him by Amelia L. Weber, of Tucson, Ariz., and several unknown individuals on the website acancerdoctor.org, in leaflets distributed on the grounds of two Rhode Island hospitals and in communications to people including former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Brown University President Ruth Simmons.

Kinsella filed a revised complaint detailing accusations that he says are false after a federal judge ruled earlier in the day that those allegations could not be kept secret from the public.

The complaint alleges Weber and others published and disseminated “false and defamatory” statements, including claims that Kinsella sexually assaulted Weber, solicited her for sex and inappropriately touched her. The complaint also alleges Kinsella has been wrongly accused by Weber and others of being an unethical physician, a sexual predator, a pathological liar and has violated state and federal laws in disclosing patient information.

Attorney Stephen J. Reid Jr. sought permission to file an amended complaint that black-out a paragraph containing 17 allegations that Weber has made against Kinsella and that the doctor denies. He argued that without sealing that portion of the complaint, Kinsella would have to disseminate statements about him in the public domain that he says are untrue.

U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith said the “embarrassment and notoriety” that Kinsella may encounter by detailing the accusations are not enough to trump policies giving the public access to court records. He added the allegations Kinsella wanted to keep secret are likely already on the website.

Kinsella works for Pratt Radiation Oncology Associates, the suit says. He is affiliated with Rhode Island Hospital and associated with The Miriam Hospital, according to a physician profile on the website for Lifespan, which runs the hospitals.

Weber’s lawyer, David H. Rich, said his client denies Kinsella’s accusations. He said Kinsella treated Weber for skin cancer in the area of her lip. Rich told The Associated Press that Kinsella touched Weber’s breasts during an exam and would call her.

“My client believes very forcefully that what has been alleged about her is not true,” Rich said. He also said the website was online for years without any complaints from Kinsella. Weber declined to comment in an email.

Kinsella’s complaint says he treated Weber in Ohio from about 2005 to 2006. After treating her, Weber filed a complaint accusing Kinsella of misconduct, which the State Medical Board of Ohio investigated, found no further action was required and closed the matter, the suit says.

Weber also undertook “multiple unsuccessful attempts” to pursue civil action against Kinsella, the suit says. She also filed a criminal complaint against Kinsella, which was investigated by prosecutors in Cuyahoga County in Ohio, who found no action warranting a criminal prosecution, the suit says.

The suit also contends Kinsella’s employer, as well as officials at Rhode Island Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, Tufts Medical School and Harvard Medical School also have received false and defamatory communications about Kinsella, the suit says. So have officials at Brown, whose medical school uses Rhode Island Hospital as its principal teaching hospital.

Weber and others also are accused of traveling to Rhode Island on Feb. 24, 2011 and passing out leaflets on the grounds of Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital that contained “false and defamatory statements,” the suit says.

Kinsella alleges defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims. He also is asking the court to order Weber and others to stop distributing untrue statements about him, shut down the website and award him punitive damages.