The Tennessee Department of Health has been asked to investigate whether U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a doctor, had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient.
The nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked for the investigation in a complaint filed Monday. Based in Washington, D.C., the organization said Tennessee law prohibits doctors from engaging in relationships with patients.
DesJarlais, who lives in South Pittsburg near Chattanooga, is a first-term Tennessee Republican whose district includes part of Roane County, including areas north and west of Oak Ridge.
In a letter to supporters on Friday, DesJarlais acknowledged that he was involved with an unnamed woman he had treated for a foot injury while he was legally separated from his wife during divorce proceedings 12 years ago.
“The relationship was completely mutual,” DesJarlais said.
But in its complaint, CREW said that doesn’t matter. Tennessee’s medical policy holds the physician responsible for maintaining “the boundaries of the professional relationship by avoiding and refraining from sexual contact with patients,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan wrote.