BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A physical therapist in Baton Rouge has been arrested after several women reported complaints of sexual abuse.
Philippe Veeters, 54, the owner of Dutch Physical Therapy on Siegen Lane, is charged with at least two counts of forcible sexual battery.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office says “there are additional complaints of inappropriate touching by Veeters upon multiple patients” being investigated and that “the additional victims are females that have described similar actions by Veeters during their physical therapy appointments.”
One victim claims she went to see Veeters about a curve in her spine and that during the exam, he touched her pubic bone without warning, making her feel uncomfortable. The victim felt the touch was not necessary for her complaint about her spine. The victim goes on to claim Veeters did not wear gloves and did not have another person present in the room during the exam. She also says while Veeters did provide her with a gown to wear, that he did not provide any other cover for her.
Detectives spoke with Veeters, who says he verbally asked the victim during the exam if it was alright to examine two areas of her pelvic area, which would require him to lower her underwear. Veeters claims the woman did not respond, so he proceeded with the exam. He says touching her pubic bone was a necessary part of the exam. He also claims at no time did he touch the victim’s genitals.
Before contacting EBRSO, the victim filed a complaint with the Louisiana Physical Therapy Board. According to EBRSO’s report, the board found Veeters violated several of their policies during the exam, chiefly that the contact was sexual or may have been construed as sexual by the patient, that Veeters did not have a clinical basis to palpate the pubic region, and the patient should have been draped and in the presence of other personnel.
“I’m not surprised to be honest, I mean, we always thought that there would be more. The way he interacted with my client, he had done it before she felt,” said Sarah Wagar Hickman, attorney for one of the victims.
Another victim tells a similar story, according to the report from EBRSO.
She claims she went to Veeters about shoulder and neck pain. The victim attended a consultation with Veeters before returning again for a therapy session. She says Veeters had her perform several exercises involving her upper chest and arms, as well as her hips and legs. The victim says she was confused by the need for exercises involving her hips and legs.
The victim claims on her third visit to Veeters, she was led to a private room for her exercises, and that struck her as odd. She says she was alone in the exam room with Veeters. She says during a particular standing exercise, Veeters walked up behind her and grabbed her buttocks without warning. He reportedly told her they needed to be stronger and he could help with that. She says he also placed his hand on her buttock during a different exercise, again, without warning her he was going to.
The victim goes on to say during the exercises, Veeters made comments about how he could be her personal trainer and asked if she likes to go to the beach because he could help her get her beach body back. She also claims he touched her pubic area and put his hand in her pants.
Both women say they never returned to Veeters’ clinic after these incidents.
“We’re asking anyone out there who has any potential complaints that they either continue to call us and we will set up an appointment with the sheriff’s office and put them in touch with somebody, or contact the sheriff’s detective division,” said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.