News

Federal Way doctor accused of raping patient

By ERICA HALL

Staff writer

The state Department of Health suspended the license of a Federal Way physician after a 21-year-old female patient accused him of raping her during an after-hours examination in his office.

Dr. Charles M. Momah, a physician and surgeon whose practice is the Northwest Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infertility in Federal Way, has until Sept. 22 to respond to health department charges of unprofessional conduct that could cost him his license to practice in Washington.

Meanwhile, Federal Way Police are gathering evidence that could lead to criminal charges.

Momah is prohibited from practicing until his case is adjudicated.

According to the health department, on Aug. 12, a woman who had been his patient for two years called him to say she was having abdominal pain and needed morning-after contraception.

Since 2001, Momah allegedly had been providing the woman with prescriptions for painkillers, despite acknowledging she was addicted to narcotics. Last April, he referred her to Swedish Medical Center for inpatient addiction treatment, but continued to prescribe her Percocet and Xanax, officials said.

When she called Aug. 12, Momah told her to meet him at his office at 6 p.m. No one else was there, but he let her in and gave her prescriptions for Percocet, Valium and four birth control pills, according to health department records.

Momah then had her change into an exam gown and conducted a pelvic exam, during which he allegedly raped her, officials said.

The woman told police Momah threatened her afterward, saying if she told anyone, he would tell police about her drug addiction and her child, whom he delivered, would be taken from her.

On Sept. 10, police served a search warrant on Momah’s office on South 336th Street and confiscated several files and office equipment. Momah hasn’t been arrested and won’t be unless police find evidence to charge him with a crime, authorities said.

Momah couldn’t be reached by the Mirror for comment, and his lawyer didn’t answer a message seeking comment.

Momah has until 5 p.m. Sept. 22 to respond to the health department charges, but the police investigation of criminal activity isn’t tied to that deadline. Detectives can send a report for possible charges to the King County prosecuting attorney whenever they finish investigating.

There are two sets of health department allegations against Momah, and the agency has so far received 16 complaints — three of which surfaced after news reports of allegations against Momah last week.

One set of charges stems from lies Momah allegedly told on his application for re-accreditation in Washington, in which he denied action taken against him when there were several complaints out of New York. They included several questionable hysterectomies and apparently unnecessarily aggressive medical procedures that left several women in serious medical peril, according to health department records.

Three of the complaints against him were closed without action, according to Lisa Noonan, disciplinary manager at the health department.

Last August’s alleged rape accounted for the other charge against him and the immediate suspension of his license.

The balance of the complaints are still open and under investigation, Noonan said.

Momah could appear before a Department of Health panel as soon as Sept. 29 to answer the allegations against him.

If the charges are substantiated, the most the department could do would be to permanently revoke his license in Washington. The department’s decision would be forwarded to a national federation of physicians, and Noonan said other states would take commensurate action prohibiting him from practicing elsewhere.

Federal Way Police could still send the case to the prosecutor’s office, with charges depending on the evidence they find in his records.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Nov 26
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates