JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Physician's assistant Jeffrey Edwards entered a plea of no contest Monday to exposing his sexual organs to a female patient. Edwards was sentenced to one day in jail and given unsupervised probation.
On Friday, the Florida Board of Medicine voted to accept his voluntary relinquishment of his physician assistant license. Edwards had chosen to voluntarily relinquish his license to avoid further administrative action by the board – and that was accepted.
It is considered disciplinary action, and will be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.
Edwards, 47, was working at the CareSpot off Beach and Hodges boulevards when he was charged with exposing his sexual organs to a 62-year-old woman.
”He reached up under my shirt and poked around in that area," said the woman who we will identify as Sarah.
The 62-year-old came to the I-TEAM after hearing of our investigation into doctors accused of sexual misconduct with their patients, and the difficulty in proving those allegations.
WATCH: I-TEAM: License to Betray
Sarah said earlier this year, she was having chest pains, so she went to CareSpot to be checked. She said when her female nurse left the room, Edwards walked in and betrayed the doctor/patient relationship.
"That’s when he pulled his shirt, his scrub top, and then he pulled up his T-shirt and showed me on his own body the rib area, demonstrating on his own body with his own hands, this cartilage between the ribs,” she said.
Sarah said after Edwards demonstrated on his own body where the ribs and liver are, he became aroused. She said at first, he fondled himself through his pants, but then went on to completely expose himself.
"Then he pulled the waistband of his underwear out and down, exposing a fully erect penis, and said to me, 'Look what you did,'” Sarah explained.
Sarah told the I-TEAM she jumped off the exam table and left the room. While walking out, she claims Edwards said, "It's been a while since you've seen something like that."
The 62-year-old reported the encounter to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, which led to Edwards being arrested and charged with exposing his sexual organs.
The I-TEAM obtained the warrant for Edwards’ arrest, and learned Sarah called Edwards while police were listening to the conversation. In the call, police say, "The suspect apologized for his actions, and said it was uncharacteristic for him.”
”I don’t think it’s a crime that the man became aroused. It’s that he made me aware that he was aroused. I don’t think he can control that, but why did he have to make sure I saw it? That’s where the crime was,” Sarah told the I-TEAM. "What also went through my mind was, thank God this didn’t happen to my mother or 10-year-old niece. What would they have done? Hopefully, they would have reported it, just like I did.”
Neither Edwards nor his attorney would comment to the I-TEAM. We do know Edwards entered a not guilty plea in court last week.
Ben Goodman, vice president of marketing and communications at CareSpot, released the following statement to the I-TEAM emphasizing patient safety and reconfirming Edwards is no longer working at the urgent care facility:
"As always, patient safety is our top priority and guides our decisions in our daily operations. We take allegations such as these very seriously and immediately took steps to ensure that this individual did not work in a CareSpot center, pending the results of the investigation."
The I-TEAM checked on the Florida Board of Medicine's website and found that Edwards has also voluntarily relinquished his license, pending board action. The Florida Board of Medicine will wait until Edwards' case goes to court to determine if he will be able to practice medicine again.
As we reported in our original investigation last week, if you are touched inappropriately, it is critical to report it to both the medical facility and police because the facility may try to handle the incident internally, possibly to protect the medical facility's interests.
You can help protect yourself during an exam by requesting that another medical professional or nurse be in the room. You can also check for any discipline records of any Florida doctor on the Department of Health website.