A judge in Boston has dismissed a lawsuit brought against Boston Children’s Hospital by 11 people alleging they were sexually abused as children in North Carolina by a now-deceased physician who worked previously at Children’s before moving south.
The Suffolk Superior Court judge rejected the argument by the plaintiffs, who said they were abused by Dr. Melvin D. Levine between 1987 and 2006 and that Children’s prevented the disclosure of Levine’s prior alleged abuse in Boston.
Judge Merita A. Hopkins said in her ruling issued Thursday that the plaintiffs failed to identify an obligation to them under Massachusetts law.
“Nor in the circumstances of this case does sound public policy dictate the creation of a duty to these plaintiffs, who were abused by Levine in another state after he left Children’s employ, obtained a license in North Carolina, and was hired and supervised [in North Carolina] for a period of 20 years,” Hopkins wrote.
Carmen L. Durso, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an e-mail that they plan to appeal the ruling.
“If Children’s had timely reported Levine’s sexual abuse of patients he treated at Children’s Hospital, Levine would not have become licensed in” North Carolina and gained access to more alleged victims, Durso wrote.
Children’s had no immediate comment on Tuesday night.
Last year, the hospital denied covering up any allegations and said in a statement that one complaint, which was received after he left Children’s, was investigated. His actions were found appropriate, and a court dismissed the complaint, Children’s said.
Levine, a renowned doctor and best-selling author, had vigorously denied the allegations through his lawyer and was never charged criminally.
Levine committed suicide in February 2011, soon after Durso filed civil complaints accusing Levine of medical malpractice and of sexually abusing thousands of young boys during his career.
Those complaints, in which Children’s is named as a defendant, are pending in Suffolk Superior Court, Durso said.
Levine, in journal entries and a suicide note, said that he and his wife were innocent victims and that the impending lawsuits could bring a flurry of false accusations.
Levine began training as a resident at Children’s in 1965 and worked there until 1985.