No jail time for Huntington physician who sexually battered employee

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) The Huntington physician arrested nearly a year ago on allegations he raped a former employee will not serve any jail time.

Dr. John C. Mathew was sentenced Monday in Huntington Circuit Court to two years on house arrest after he was convicted of two counts of sexual battery. Mathew was arrested in June 2016 after repeated incidents of inappropriate behavior with an employee that began in July of 2014, about eight months after the employee had started working for Mathew at Huntington Medical Group.

Dr. John Mathew
Photo of Dr. John Mathew provided by the Huntington County Sheriff’s Dept.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office said that in 2014, Mathew committed battery on two separate occasion, and, in 2015 and 2016, he committed rape and inappropriately touched a victim.

The investigation began on January 21, 2016, a day after one of the incidents occurred, when an officer with the Huntington Police Department interviewed the victim.

Through the course of the investigation, which involved interviews with multiple employees, it was noted several times that Dr. Mathew had a reputation as being “touchy, feely” and that some employees had also reported inappropriate behavior on the part of Mathew.

A doctor who had worked with Mathew from 2002 to 2013 was also interviewed and told investigators that she was aware of an alleged incident of inappropriate behavior between doctor Mathew and one of his employees. Another former employee also claimed Dr. Mathew had her perform the duties of a nurse, even though she had been hired as a secretary. That person also claimed Dr. Mathew billed anywhere between five and eight patients that he had not actually seen.

In September, the Indiana Medical Licensing Board approved an emergency suspension of Mathew’s license.

Mathew pleaded guilty to the two charges in February through a deal with prosecutors that dropped additional charges of battery. As part of his conviction, Mathew will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Another woman, who’s name is Robin (she is keeping her last name anonymous), is filing a complaint against Mathew. She was at his sentencing Monday and was not satisfied with the verdict.

“I feel that it’s not enough,” she said. “I feel bad for the victim. I don’t feel that she has really been vindicated.”

Robin is suing Mathew and her former employer Southern Care Hospice. As a hospice nurse for Southern Care, she’d go to Mathew’s office to pick up patient prescriptions.

“He would try to hold my hand,” she explained. “Try to get me to go out to lunch. He’d try to hold my hand on many occasions and flirting with me. Just touching my hand and my arm.”

All the while her coworkers teased her about Mathew. She said all her attempts to get help from higher management were not taken seriously and did not stop Matthew’s behavior.

In September 2015, Robin said she was in a dark hallway with her hands full when Mathew quickly wrapped his arms around her, pressing himself against her. He pressed his chest against hers while moving his face into her. Robin told Mathew no and pushed him off of her. After a nervous breakdown shortly after, she quit.

“Because it’s just emotional,” Robin said. “I was violated. It’s hard to get my emotions in check and to tell him how I feel. I was just trying to do my job. I was a hospice nurse and I didn’t know what was happening to me until he was grabbing me, until he was physical. I don’t know what I would say to him today. I’m not sure that I could talk to him face to face.”

She was angered by the people in court today who defended his character as a giving man of the community.

“When you do something wrong you need to be held accountable for that and you need to pay the price and I feel that all that happened today was a slap on the wrist,” she said.

Robin has filed a civil suit and prosecutors are investigating her claims. NewsChannel 15 attempted to reach Mathews and his attorney but was unable to reach them.