Geisinger and physician sued over alleged sex assault on girl

As it appeared on The Times Leader

By Patrick Kernan

WILKES-BARRE — A lawsuit filed in Luzerne County on Thursday alleges a former Geisinger physician sexually assaulted a minor while running what was supposed to be an educational program.

The lawsuit further suggests that Geisinger had virtually no oversight over the doctor’s program, and the health system was negligent for allowing the alleged assault to happen.

Dr. Abraham Joseph Layon sexually assaulted a minor who was part of an educational program he ran at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, the suit alleges. The program was called the ICU Reader Group.

The girl alleges Layon forced himself on her in a meeting Aug. 15. The lawsuit describes Layon as having “gnawed” on the girl’s ears and forcing his tongue down her throat.

So far, no criminal charges against Layon have been filed in Montour County, but the civil filing does say police were notified of the alleged incident. The lawsuit also says a restraining order was filed on behalf of the girl in Lackawanna County.

She claims the alleged assault took place after other incidents of inappropriate contact from Layon, including suggestive emails to her and other minors in the program.

“I asked you if you wanted to travel this path with me. That it would be painful,” one of the emails from Layon reproduced in the lawsuit reads. “I also explained that the examined life, the life of meaning was always going to be a challenging one. Do you, my fellow thinker? Do you?”

The girl also says Layon would try to get her to read books that had nothing to do with medicine. Instead, many of them had “racist, provocative, sexually charged and/or other inappropriate topics.”

The lawsuit, filed by Edward J. Ciarimboli and Molly Dempsey Clark of Fellerman & Ciarimboli Law of Kingston, says Layon caused physical and emotional distress to the girl. They are seeking all damages allowed under the law from both Layon and Geisinger.

Here are more of the allegations from the filing:

Layon’s program continued at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville for a period of a year with no oversight from the hospital.

The program violated Geisinger’s own policies by allowing minors around the hospital without necessary permission from either the hospital or the minors’ parents.

Layon also allowed the minors to participate in patient care, a direct violation of Geisinger guidelines and patients’ rights.

Geisinger: Employment ended

A representative from Geisinger said he was unable to comment on the lawsuit directly, but he was able to confirm Layon is no longer employed by the health system.

“We have not yet had an opportunity to review the complaint in detail; however, I can confirm that upon learning of this alleged incident we promptly ended Dr. Layon’s employment at Geisinger,” David Jolley, vice president of system public affairs, said in an email.

Attorney Ciarimboli explained that while the alleged incident did not occur in Luzerne County and the victim does not live here, the lawsuit was filed here as a “neutral venue.”

Since this is not a malpractice lawsuit, it does not have to be filed in the county where the incident took place, and can instead be filed anywhere Geisinger does business, which includes Luzerne County, according to Ciarimboli.

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With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.

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