Former Michigan Medicine doctor arrested for child porn, had sex with patient

Monday, February 12, 2018 - 7:15pm

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File Photo/Daily

Mark Hoeltzel, a former University of Michigan pediatric rheumatology specialist, was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport Monday morning on charges of child pornography. He was returning from an out-of-state trip, but has been under FBI investigation since December.

Hoeltzel was initially under investigation for a two year long sexual relationship with one of his female patients, who was only 17 years old when she began receiving care from Hoeltzel for her rheumatoid arthritis, while also, according to court records, having various mental health diagnoses. According to records unsealed in U.S discrict court, Hoeltzel gave the patient pain pills she didn’t need, talked to her about other “hot” female patients who were as young as twelve years old and visited her apartment for sex.

After a house search warrant issued on Dec. 11, law enforcement officials found a flash drive with over 200 images of child pornography. Files were created as early as 2008 and were accessed up to May 17, 2017.

Hoeltzel’s lawyer, Raymond Cassar, told The Daily he believes the woman’s mental health played a role in her relationship with the doctor. He also thinks Hoeltzel did not have sexual relationships with any other patients.

“All we know is some tidbits in this complaint about her,” Cassar said. “I'm wondering what was really going on.”  

Hoeltzel is scheduled for a detention hearing on Wednesday, where the decision will be made of whether to release him on bond, or if he will continue his time in jail until the case outcome is decided.

Cassar said he thinks it will be more beneficial for Hoeltzel to be out on bond. 

“He's going to be of more help to me (in this case) if he's out here,” Cassar said. 

Michigan Medicine was made aware of this investigation in early December and fired him from his position. According to a statement released by Marschall Runge, executive vice president of Medical Affairs at the University and the CEO of Michigan Medicine, the institution is providing all resources for patients to report any concerns, as well as fully cooperating with Hoeltzel’s investigation.

“These are very disturbing and serious allegations, and we have reached out to our patients to inform them of concerns related to Dr. Hoeltzel, offer resources and provide them with a way to report any concerns,” Runge wrote.

Additionally, Runge reaffirmed Michigan Medicine’s prioritization and commitment to patient safety.

“Any behaviors we discover that risk the safety of our patients or employees, or violate state or federal law, will be reviewed and addressed with the appropriate follow up,” the statement reads. “In addition, we have retained an experienced national law firm with expertise in this area to investigate this matter. The review is ongoing with the goals of better understanding the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident, identifying opportunities for improvement, and furthering the mission of the University to provide the safest and the highest quality patient care.”

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