Three women filed suit Wednesday against a prominent Pasadena obstetrician and Huntington Memorial Hospital, alleging the doctor assaulted and harassed them during treatment.

The complaint, filed in Los Angeles federal court by three unidentified women, alleges the hospital had received numerous complaints about Dr. Patrick Sutton’s behavior dating back 20 years, yet he continues to practice there.

The plaintiffs, referred to as Jane Doe K.G. Jane Doe T.F. and Jane Doe B.S., allege Sutton used his position of authority and trust to sexually abuse them and potentially thousands of other women, according to the proposed class-action lawsuit.

The 64-year-old physician is well-known in the Pasadena area, where he has practiced since 1989. Sutton could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Huntington Hospital takes seriously all issues of patient health and safety,” said Eileen Neuwirth, executive director, communications Huntington Hospital. “We are currently in the process of reviewing this matter and have no comment on this litigation.”

In a statement issued through her attorney, lawsuit plaintiff Jane Doe T.F. said, “When I started seeing recent news reports about the doctor’s inappropriate treatment of other patients, I ultimately realized that standing up and speaking out is the only way to bring justice and give power to all the other women who were victimized, while at the same time forcing hospitals to put their patients first and stop harboring and even sheltering sexual predators.”

The lawsuit alleges that Huntington Hospital routinely disregarded complaints about Sutton’s behavior, complaints that date back to the 1990s, actively and deliberately concealing Sutton’s sexual abuse and continuing to grant him uncontrolled sexual access to female patients at the hospital, all to protect the hospital’s reputation and income stream.

Huntington Memorial Hospital announced Friday that the doctor no longer had a leadership role at the hospital and will have a chaperone when treating women in the maternity ward, according to the Los Angeles Times. A hospital spokeswoman also told the newspaper that Sutton has been removed from the list of doctors who are on call to deliver babies at the hospital.

The Times previously reported that Sutton is facing the possible loss or suspension of his medical license following an accusation by state regulators that he made inappropriate comments about a patient’s appearance and sex life.

The allegation lodged last month by the Medical Board of California marks the fifth time Sutton has been accused of sexual misconduct, according to a review by The Times of court records and medical board files. The accusations have not been previously reported even though they were contained in publicly available records, according to the newspaper.

In response to questions from The Times regarding the accusation by state regulators, Huntington President and CEO Dr. Lori J. Morgan said in a statement, “I am very troubled by these allegations. Huntington Hospital takes seriously all issues of patient health and safety, and we are working closely with Medical Staff to receive updates in this matter.”

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