GAYLORD -- A northern Michigan physical therapist admitted to sexual contact with a patient, including kissing, groping and oral sex -- behavior that cost him his license to practice.
The Michigan Department of Community Health suspended the physical therapist license of Mark R. Melton, 38, who has offices in Gaylord and Kalkaska. He is accused of sexual contact with a female patient, 47, and a female employee, 25, who he allegedly forced to engage in oral sex to keep her job, officials said.
Melton's alleged behavior between June and December 2005 at his Kalkaska office violated ethical standards, said Ray Garza, director of the MDCH health regulatory division.
"Patients are there to have treatment for their ailments, not to be sexually assaulted," Garza said.
Melton, who lives in Otsego Lake Township in Otsego County, may never practice in the state again, depending on final disciplinary action at a future administrative hearing, Garza said.
"We don't want him working right now, so we yanked his license," he said.
Melton has 30 days to respond to the state's Dec. 21 license suspension. He could not be reached for comment at either of his offices and a woman who answered the phone at the Gaylord location declined to comment.
State documents reveal details of the alleged sexual relationship with the patient, including Melton allegedly showing her a gun and threatening to shoot her husband, who had grown suspicious of their relationship. Melton allegedly exposed himself to a patient and an employee, and had the employee perform a sex act with a patient in the room, documents show.
A patient filed a personal injury lawsuit against Melton in the 46th Circuit Trial Court in June last year. The Kalkaska County case remains open, pending final settlement, court officials said.
The woman declined to comment when contacted by the Record-Eagle.
Kalkaska County Prosecutor Brian Donnelly could not be reached for comment on potential criminal penalties.
One former patient said she was astounded by the news.
"I really wouldn't expect this from anybody who has a business like that. You would think they'd be professional," said Lois Paynter of Kalkaska.
Paynter, 67, received physical therapy after knee surgery and said Melton never did anything improper with her, but she wouldn't expect it at her age.
Melton's license was issued in May 1999, records show.