FOX 29 Investigates: Delco Psychiatrist Sex Abuse Claims
A psychiatrist accused of groping, kissing, even exposing himself to patients, gives up his license. But now says he was pressured into admitting things he didn’t do. This, as others step forward. NOTE: We want to caution you about some of the content.
By Jeff Cole
May 19 2016
MEDIA, Pa. – Three women tell FOX 29 Investigates a former Delaware County psychiatrist kissed, groped them and even exposed himself during treatment. It’s not the first time he’s been accused.
Satyendra Diwan surrendered his license permanently several years ago when accused by former patients. Now, there are more accusers, and a local district attorney wants to speak with them, FOX 29 Investigates’ Jeff Cole reports. NOTE: We want to caution you about some of the content here.
Kiya Durnell says she has long suffered with anxiety and depression, which would land her in her doctor’s office clinging to her sanity.
“I would just show up there crying all the time, not knowing for sure what was really happening to me,” Durnell said.
She says Dr. Kanta Diwan suggested she see her husband, psychiatrist Satyendra Diwan, who practiced in the same Media, Delaware County, building.
Durnell says Diwan walked her to her husband’s office, where she claims her nightmare began: “He started to sexually abuse me.”
It started slowly.
“He started to kiss and hug me, I mean right from the very first day,” she said.
During her office visits from 2005 to 2011, it progressed to intimate touching and more.
“It gets to him penetrating my vagina with his fingers, asking me for sex, wanting me to have intercourse with him,” Durnell said.
“Does he at some point masturbate in front of you?” Cole asked.
“Plenty of times,” she said. “All the time.”
Durnell is suing Satyendra Diwan claiming he “engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with” her during therapy sessions and failed to properly treat her.
She’s also suing his wife, Kanta, alleging she “knew or should have known that Dr. Diwan could be or was engaging in inappropriate sexual contact” with her.
In legal filings, Kanta Diwan has denied the allegations.
Daniel Jeck is Durnell’s attorney. He works with lawyer Ken Rothweiler, who is a FOX 29 contributor.
Jeck claims Satyendra Diwan abused his client at her weakest moments.
“He took the most vulnerable people and, in a selfish way, in a reprehensible way, took advantage of their vulnerability,” Jeck said.
Diwan, in response to the lawsuit and under questioning by Jeck, says he never sexually abused Durnell.
Jeck: “Do you deny all those allegations?”
Jeck: “You never touched her inappropriately?”
Jeck: “You’ve never kissed her either in a non-sexual way or in a sexual way?”
This is not the first time Diwan has been accused of sexually abusing his patients. In 2011, he signed a consent agreement with Pennsylvania regulators when three female patients stepped forward to say that he abused them. He admitted no guilt or wrongdoing but voluntarily agreed to give up his medical license, permanently.
The patients appear in the document by their initials only. Their claims mirror what Durnell says happened to her and include some admissions by Dr. Diwan: “respondent (Diwan) admitted … that he engaged in inappropriate touching, kissing, exposing himself;” and “Respondent admitted … that he placed his hands inside of patient R.S.’s bra and her pants and exposed himself.”
Remember, Diwan signed the agreement in late 2011. But he now says he was pressured by the state investigator to admit things that never happened.
Here’s what he told Durnell’s lawyer about the state investigator.
“She threatened me and said that they would not let this rest,” Diwan said, later adding, “She said if I sign something the whole thing will vanish and the case will be closed.”
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State declined comment on Diwan’s claim of threats.
But we had another question: Did the agency inform prosecutors about the sexual abuse claims made against the doctor? The spokesperson said it was their practice to alert authorities, but she wouldn’t comment if it was done in Diwan’s case.
There was no answer at the Diwans’ Delaware County home. The house has been quiet for weeks. The couple owns a place in Florida.
Kanta Diwan’s lawyer declined comment. Her husband’s attorney did not respond to our calls or emails.
Three young children – including a son with special needs – lead to a crisis for Mary Beth Orens of Media.
“I knew I didn’t feel safe driving with the kids in the car, so I pulled over to the side of the road and I had a – I broke down crying,” Orens said.
She says she began treatment with Dr. Diwan in 2003 and remained his patient through late 2011. She has not sued him.
“And then eventually he kissed me and he slid his tongue into my mouth, and at that point I was very upset, and grossed out, and panicked,” she said.
Yet, she remained his patient for years.
“Here’s the doctor that I am seeing. I need medication, obviously. The only way to get the medication is to see the doctor,” she said. “As things went on, I would brace myself and, you know, try to hold him back.”
Another woman says being a victim of crime made her seek Diwan’s help.
“I was taken advantage of,” said the woman, who asked that we hide her face and not say her name. She has not filed a lawsuit.
She tells us she was Dr. Diwan’s patient for nine years.
“He makes you feel like special, like you’re the only one. He says things like he likes you. You take it like it’s not even abuse,” she said.
She says her sexual abuse began slowly and evolved.
“Well, he starts giving you hugs and kisses, and then he’ll put his hand on your breasts. And he exposed himself. He made me touch him,” she said.
She claims their sexual contact extended outside the office and ended when she found a new therapist.
“It’s all abuse, like sexual abuse and control, power and control – he feels entitled, like he can get away with it,” she said. “He wanted, you know, to get away with it.”
The chief of police in Media says he was aware of the consent agreement and the allegations. He says two of the cases were too old to criminally charge, and the third the Delaware County District Attorney at the time passed on.
But now the current D.A. wants to speak with the women in our report and anyone else who may believe they were victimized.