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Sex-Abuse Investigation of Pediatrician Continues

By Arthur Santana
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 20, 2005; Page SM03

Authorities continued their investigation this week of a St. Mary's County pediatrician arrested Jan. 10 on allegations that he sexually abused a 10-year-old girl, according to the St. Mary's State's Attorney's Office.

Keith J. Lindemann, 41, of Avenue was charged with one count of second-degree child abuse and one count of third-degree sex offense after a girl told investigators that Lindemann had touched her inappropriately.

Assistant State's Attorney Joe Stanalonis said Tuesday that the girl told officers that Lindemann touched her genitals with his hand three times in an inappropriate manner during September and October. The doctor has said that one of those times was for a medical exam, Stanalonis said.

Lindemann, who posted 10 percent of his $20,000 bond on the day he was arrested, has since been dismissed from St. Mary's Hospital in Leonardtown, where he has worked as a staff pediatrician since 1996. He has also indefinitely closed his private medical office at St. Maries Pediatrics in Leonardtown, where an answering machine informed callers this week that "due to a family emergency, the office will be closed until further notice."

During a court appearance last week, a court commissioner ordered Lindemann to have no contact or go within 500 feet of the girl or any other minor "privately or professionally" until his trial, Stanalonis said.

Lindemann could not be reached for comment at his home, but his attorney, Andrew Alpert, said his client is innocent.

"He strongly denies the allegations," Alpert said, adding that, because of the court order to stay away from children, Lindemann has been unable to "pursue his living."

"He's not doing anything," Alpert said. "He cannot practice medicine because he is a pediatrician; so by definition, he cannot practice medicine."

Alpert said he intends to challenge the condition of bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 11, in St. Mary's County District Court.

"This is a guy who has never been in trouble before in his life, a physician, a respected member of the community with a good practice," Alpert said of Lindemann, a 1986 graduate of the Boston University School of Medicine. Lindemann did his postgraduate training at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif., according to the Maryland Board of Physicians.

According to the statement of probable cause filed in St. Mary's County District Court, Lindemann touched the girl when the two were alone.

The girl was not Lindemann's patient, and the incidents did not happen at the hospital or at his private practice. The Washington Post generally does not name the alleged victims of sexual assault and does not publicize ancillary information that might identify them.

Stanalonis said the girl told a school friend about the alleged incidents about two weeks ago. The friend, in turn, told a parent. That parent told school officials, and the school officials filed a report with the St. Mary's Department of Social Services.

Stanalonis said the girl's mother was aware of the allegations but said nothing to authorities. He said he spoke to the girl Tuesday as part of the investigation.

"She's a very bright young girl," Stanalonis said. "She maintained the same thing that she told the police officer last week. She's very upset that it happened."

Holly Meyer, spokeswoman at St. Mary's Hospital, said Lindemann was no longer practicing at the hospital as of Jan. 11. She declined, as a matter of hospital policy, to say whether Lindemann was fired or suspended.

Officials at the Baltimore-based Maryland Board of Physicians said that Lindemann is still licensed to practice medicine and that his license would not be revoked unless he is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

The board's Web page, which says that Lindemann's medical license is valid until September 2006, shows that no disciplinary action has been reported against him in the past 10 years.

If convicted of the third-degree sex offense charge and the second-degree abuse charge, Lindemann faces a total maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

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