February 10, 2015
Dr. Jay J. Cho, 71
1600 block of Lambs Gap Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Aggravated Indecent Assault
Drug Delivery by a Practitioner
Criminal Use of a Communication Facility
Possession of a Controlled Substance
The Hampden Township Police Department, the Upper Allen Township Police Department, and the Cumberland County Drug Task Force today arrested Jay J. Cho, 71, of Hampden Township on numerous charges including Rape, Aggravated Indecent Assault, Drug Delivery by a Practitioner and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility. Today’s action follows a lengthy investigation spearheaded by Detective Trenton Mellott of the Upper Allen Police and Detective Mary Catherine Hottenstein of Hampden Police.
The charges against Cho, a medical doctor with offices in Hampden Township and Chambersburg, Franklin County, follow a lengthy investigation by Hampden Township, Upper Allen Township and the Cumberland County Drug Task Force. The affidavit of probable cause attached to the criminal complaint charging Cho states that over the past several years the Cumberland County Drug Task Force has received information that Cho was a “candy doctor”, that is a doctor who would give out prescriptions for controlled substances with little or no medical reason. In addition, in 2010, a patient of Dr. Cho had filed a police report with Hampden Township alleging a sexual assault but had never followed through with the complaint. The investigation became active again in late May 2014 following another report to Hampden Township of a sexual assault by Cho on a female patient.
The affidavit of probable cause contains numerous and repeated examples of Cho sexually assaulting patients, giving them large amounts of serious controlled substances outside the bounds of accepted pain management practice, meeting with female patients with no staff member in the room and repeatedly contacting female patients outside of the times for their visits.
The affidavit of probable cause further states that the investigation and charges involve a total of 12 victims and that at the time of the initial interviews with the victims, none of them knew each other. However, they all provided similar stories, and a common method of operation by Cho became apparent. Patients that are prescribed strong narcotics such as Oxycodone need to be carefully monitored due to the high potential for abuse and addiction. The investigation made clear that Cho has been abusing his position in order to take advantage of his patients. His patterns included over- prescribing narcotics to his patients and then using their drug addiction as leverage to commit sexual assaults.
The vast majority of the patients were afraid that he would not see them as patients anymore if they rejected his sexual advances. Victims # 1, 2, and 9 reported that Cho committed the assaults when he knew they were under extreme emotional stress from their personal lives. The affidavit of probable cause tells a story of repeated sexual assaults using implied emotional and psychological force. The victims were afraid of being cut off from the medications to which they had become addicted. The manner in which Cho interacted with these patients was clearly outside the normal doctor and patient relationship.
Medical records for many of the victims were obtained and reviewed by an independent medical expert in Anesthesiology and Pain Management. That expert’s report states that the amount of opiates prescribed to each patient far exceeded the established standards of care and the that care provided by Dr. Cho fell well below national standards of care.
The Franklin County District Attorney’s Office has agreed that the crimes that occurred in Franklin County can be charged and prosecuted along with the charges in Cumberland County.
Upper Allen Township Police Chief James Adams said, “ Upper Allen Township Police Department is fortunate to have an Officer dedicated full time to the Cumberland County Drug Task force who can take on or assist with very complex and time consuming cases that impact the quality of life not only in Upper Allen Township but in Central Pennsylvania. In this case, instead of a Doctor helping or treating people with addictions, Dr. Cho was creating addicts and/or taking advantage of people with addictions for his own personal and perverted desires.”
Hampden Township Police Chief Steven R. Junkin said, “Medical doctors take an oath to ‘cause no harm’ and are to always act in the best interest of their patient. A doctor who peddles drugs to addicts and then uses the control of the drugs to profit and further victimize the patient, transitions from practitioner to predator. There is no room in society for these predators and today, with endless hours, exhausting interviews, old fashioned hard work and interagency cooperation, we’ve hopefully removed this predator’s ability to ruin more lives.”
Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed said, “As my colleagues have stated, these charges are the result of hard work and thorough cooperation. The charges also represent the highest ideals of police work. Police and prosecutors charge based on evidence and evidence only, not rumor and conjecture. Proper investigation respects the rights of suspects and victims alike. Detectives Mellott and Hottenstein have upheld those high standards in this case, and they deserve our thanks.”
On February 10, 2015, an arrest warrant was obtained and Dr. Cho turned himself into Police. He was arraigned by MDJ Silcox and then committed to Cumberland County Prison on $375,000 bail. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 20, 2015 @ 9:30 AM at Magisterial District Judge Kathryn Silcox’s office.
Any member of the public who believes he or she has pertinent information about this case is encouraged to call or text Upper Allen Township Police Department’s tip line at 717-850-UAPD (8273). Tips can also be submitted online by visiting: www.upperallenpolice.com.
As in any case of criminal charges, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.