Former Children’s Hospital doctor accused of sex abuse

Lane Lambert

Seven Boston-area men, including one from the South Shore, are accusing a nationally known pediatrician and former Children’s Hospital physician of sexually abusing them at the hospital decades ago, when they were young boys.

Dr. Melvin Levine is now a pediatrics professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and director of the school’s Clinical Center for the Study of Development and Learning.

In a prepared statement from his attorney, Ted Mahoney, Levine said he “adamantly denies” all of the claims and questions the motives of his accusers. Levine “categorically denies that he has ever been abusive in any way toward any patient” and is “distressed” about claims based on the distorted or misrepresented memories from decades past, the statement said.

Widely considered one of the country’s leading authorities in childhood development, Levine is the founder of All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit that studies different styles of learning among children. He was at Children’s Hospital from 1967 through 1984.

The lawsuits were filed in Suffolk Superior Court and were made public Monday by Weymouth lawyer Carmen Durso, who handled more than 40 of the Boston archdiocese’s clergy sex-abuse cases from 2001 to 2003.

Durso said the claims of the seven men raise the question of “whether there are other people out there” who believe they were abused by Levine.

According to the complaint filed by “John Doe No. 5,” the seven accusers ranged in age from 5 to 13 when the alleged abuse began. None of the seven is identified in court documents, but Durso said the identities of all seven have been provided to Levine and his attorney, as required.

According to Durso, the South Shore plaintiff was 5 when Levine’s alleged abuse began in 1982. That man, identified as “John Doe No. 3,” says the abuse lasted until 1984.

Durso said all of the alleged assaults occurred at the hospital during appointments with Levine, and included such actions as fondling, masturbation and additional physical exams.

As adults, the seven have done “a little bit better than some of the clergy abuse victims,” Durso said.

He said they have dealt with “a variety of problems, some worse than others.” One of them is in jail.

Mahoney noted that Levine has provided pediatric care to more than 15,000 children in a 40-year period. He called Durso’s action an attempt to obtain “free advertising for his legal practice.”

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