Wisconsin State Journal
By Cary Segall
This is a case that hinged on circumcision-stantial evidence.
A psychiatrist who went to extraordinary lengths to cover up having sex with a patient found his circumcision used against him by the 2nd District Court of Appeals Wednesday.
Dr. Francois Saculla had the surgery in March 1991, about a year after his patient told an official at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Center that he had had sex with her.
The patient said she had gone to Saculla’s Racine home three times in late 1989 and once performed oral sex on him.
Saculla, 65, admitted that the patient, then 30, was in his home, but he strongly denied having sex.
And, when questioned by a board lawyer and investigator in February 1993, Saculla became agitated and insisted that the patient be questioned to see if she could describe his genitalia.
That insistence proved to be his undoing when the State Medical Examining Board learned that his intimate appearance had changed since he and the patient had last seen each other.
Administrative Law Judge Donald Rittel concluded after an eight-day hearing that Saculla had been trying to pull a fast one and the board agreed in November 1994.
Saculla claimed he had the circumcision for medical reasons, but his surgeon’s notes indicated everything was normal. And Saculla refused to explain his conduct, instead invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self- incrimination during the hearing.
Saculla attacked the patient’s mental health and credibility and presented evidence to buttress his reputation.
He didn’t convince the board, though. The board found Saculla had had sex with the patient and strongly disciplined him, forbidding him from treating females and requiring that he be supervised by another doctor.
The board’s decision was upheld last year by Racine County Circuit Judge Dennis Flynn.
In upholding Flynn, the appeals court said the board had properly used Saculla’s refusal to testify in ruling against him because the hearing was a civil, not a criminal proceeding.
And the court said the board had also reasonably relied on the penile facts.
”The problem for the board was that the surgery, which was performed upon Saculla after the alleged misconduct, resulted in the removal of the foreskin from his penis and ‘obviously would have altered at least its flaccid appearance from that which possibly would have been observed in late 1989 by (the patient.)’ ” Judge Daniel Anderson wrote for the court.
”Therefore,” Anderson added, ”(The patient’s) physical description of Saculla’s penis would have been inconsistent with its actual condition in 1993.”