Doctor faces continued sexual misconduct claims


TRAVERSE CITY — A doctor who practiced locally killed himself shortly after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced. A local woman claims to be one of his victims.

She and her attorney, Jay Hardin, filed an amended complaint in 13th Circuit Court on Dec. 19 against the estate of Steven Scranton and where he practised.

She said the former doctor attempted to grope and kiss her and made “inappropriate comments” during Traverse City and Petoskey appointments. Court records did not indicate the amount of damages she seeks.

The woman sought Scranton’s help for prescription drug addiction treatment.

“All the while, (the plaintiff) was committed to maintain sobriety, was vulnerable, and assumed that people would believe a physician and would not believe an addict if she made a report,” the complaint reads.

“So she remained silent as she suffered.”

Her allegations join other accusations former patients brought against Scranton, records show.

The Grand Traverse County resident went to West Brook Recovery Center — which maintains offices in Traverse City, Petoskey and Grand Rapids — seeking treatment for drug addiction. Court documents show West Brook officials assigned Scranton, an independent contractor and licensed physician.

He placed the woman on a 12 to 18 month treatment plan using the opioid addiction drug Suboxone. Scranton acted professionally during the first few appointments, but he soon began staring at her body. Handshakes at the end of appointments turned to hugs, according to court records.

At least one more patient brought up similar complaints during the woman's treatment, but it is unclear where those alleged incidents occurred.

Kent County Sheriff’s Department investigators began looking into criminal sexual conduct complaints involving Scranton in November 2017. Deputies arrested Scranton Jan. 29, 2018 at his Rockford home. Prosecutors filed one second degree CSC charge and two fourth degree CSC charges against him Jan. 30, according to reports.

Scranton posted bond and was set to go to trial before he disappeared April 25. Deputies said he left his home with a rifle. He was found dead in Montcalm County April 28, according to reports.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg had not heard of any further complaints involving Scranton.

Jay Hardin, the woman's attorney, declined comment. Kevin Lesperance and Susan Ramage, attorneys representing West Brook, did not return calls for comment. John O’Loughlin represents Scranton's estate. He declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.

West Brook officials claimed any injuries or damages resulted, not because of West Brook, but because of “persons other than defendant for which defendant had no legal responsibility and/or control,” according to court records. They also denied Scranton acted as a West Brook employee when the “alleged behavior” occurred.

Court documents show West Brook officials denied having knowledge of the “unwanted touching” and other allegations of sexual abuse, according to court files. They asked judges to throw out the suit on numerous claims, including that the allegations fall outside of the two-year medical malpractice statute of limitations.

The next scheduled court hearings for the case include a settlement conference on July 2, followed by a jury trial starting July 29.

See for further updates.

Staff writer