A Glastonbury doctor arrested in connection with alleged sexual assault was quietly released from employment at a Hartford health center in September 2012.
Charter Oak Health Center terminated Dr. Tory Westbrook on Sept. 27, 2012, according to Charter Oak spokeswoman Jo-Anne Leventhal.
Westbrook served as Charter Oak’s interim medical director and then director of internal medicine until his arrest in June of last year, when he was suspended.
Leventhal would not release the circumstances of the termination, citing legal reasons.
News reports from September 2012 onward do not specify the status of Westbrook’s employment. Westbrook faces a number of pending sexual assault cases in Middlesex Superior Court.
COHC is a federally-qualified health center, which means it provides services regardless of ability to pay, and charges for services on a sliding scale based on income. While a nonprofit organization, being a federally-qualified health center means that COHC receives significant federal funding.
Health center officials have repeatedly declined to comment on whether Westbrook received a paycheck while on leave.
Diana Lejardi, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health, said that the DPH has no say on whether or not Westbrook got paid.
“DPH regulations, whether for facilities or individual practitioners, are focused on standards of care and patient health and safety,” she said. “DPH does not regulate employment practices.”
The department placed COHC on a two-year probation in 2012 as part of a consent order after it was learned that the health center waited more than a month to inform patients and staff that a regular patient had tuberculosis.
The health center hired Westbrook as part of its improvement efforts.
Westbrook has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of second-degree sexual assault, 28 counts of fourth-degree sexual and others charges, including insurance fraud and the sale of illegal drugs.
He left Community Health Center in Clinton, where the allegations against him originated, in February 2012 to serve as interim medical director of Charter Oak. Westbrook became the center’s chief of internal medicine in late March, when a permanent medical director was hired.
Westbrook’s medical license has been suspended since June 2012. His last hearing date with the State Medical Examining board was Oct. 16, 2012. The board is responsible for regulating the medical profession in Connecticut.
Additional hearings have not been held due to the unavailability of Westbrook’s attorney, Lejardi said. She added that “it is hoped” that hearing dates will be scheduled in September, and that Westbrook’s license remains suspended.
Norman Pattis, Westbrook’s attorney, was unavailable for comment, but he posted an email thread from June 2012 on his blog in which he expressed clear frustrations with the board.
“I repeat my request that the board continue this hearing until such time as Dr. Westbrook can meaningly appear and defend,” wrote Pattis, in regards to the hearing that suspended Westbrook’s license. “To suggest that this would inconvenience the current board speaks more to the qualifications and commitments of the current board than it does about Dr. Westbrook’s suitability to practice medicine: Is the board simply too busy to see that justice, even rough justice, is done in this case? Each and every physician on the panel ought to stop to ask themselves whether they would expect more of their peers than a summary endorsement of unchallenged allegations.”
Jordan Otero is a summer 2013 Yankee Institute journalism intern. She is a senior studying journalism at Franciscan University of Steubenville. She lives in Southington.