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Flagler County doctor charged with groping female patients

Palm Coast physician accused by at least 5 women, investigators say

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FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A Palm Coast doctor accused of inappropriately touching some of his female patients has been charged with two counts of simple battery, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.

Dr. Florence R. Fruehan is accused of groping at least five women, detectives said, but the statute of limitations had passed in several of the cases.

In two of the cases, Flagler County detectives recommended misdemeanor battery charges against Fruehan.

The Florida Department of Health imposed an emergency restriction order against Fruehan last month as a result of the investigation. 

According to the charging affidavits, the women, who range in age from 39 to 74, all said they had appointments with Fruehan and that at some point during the appointment he inappropriately fondled their breasts.

Four of the women described similar accounts of Fruehan walking them to the front desk and then pulling them into an exam room near the reception area, where he groped them.

Deputies said Fruehan was charged with sexual battery in 2006 when a patient alleged that he had examined her inappropriately, but the charges were ultimately dropped. 

“I am very proud of our detectives and the excellent work they have done following every lead to make sure this individual is held responsible for the trauma that he has caused to victims,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Unfortunately, the statute of limitations makes it impossible to charge him on every alleged assault. We are still investigating other allegations against him. We ask that anyone who may have been assaulted come forward so we can make sure this guy never has the opportunity to victimize someone again.”

Additional allegations are still actively being investigated and more charges might be filed in the future, investigators said.

The Sheriff's Office asks that anyone who was a patient of Fruehan and feels they had an inappropriate experience with him to call 386-313-4911 to file a formal complaint.