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Doctor Faces New Molestation Claims

The civil lawsuit against Dr. LaVar Withers, who served a jail term after admitting a criminal charge involving molestation of female patients, will be replaced with a new claim against more defendants.

The motion to dismiss the lawsuit against Withers, a retired Rexburg doctor, was filed with Bingham County on Tuesday by plaintiff attorney Dan Hawkley. Court records also said the plaintiffs plan to file a petition with the state Board of Medicine for a review of claims of negligence filed against Withers.

Hawkley couldn’t be reached Tuesday but has said he wants to add defendants to the lawsuit such as doctors who knew of Withers’ reputation and the clinic where he worked.

Local prosecutors and the state attorney general’s office declined to file criminal charges against Withers, despite claims by more than 100 women that Withers had molested them over a 30-year Madison County medical career. Hawkley was hired as a special prosecutor in the case and quickly filed charges against Withers, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Withers pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of battery.

The civil lawsuit was filed by five women who claim that Withers fondled their breasts, and in one case, raped one of them, during routine office visits.

The suit seeks damages of up to $25,000 per plaintiff.

Withers was sentenced to 30 days in jail, which he has completed, and 10 hours a week of community service during his two years of supervised probation.