An administrative-law judge has sided with the California Medical Board and agreed to revoke the medical license of Fountain Valley doctor Sean Ataee, according to the decision handed down on July 19.
“The accusation against respondent Sean Ataee, M.D., is affirmed,” Judge Matthew Goldsby ordered. “Physician’s and Surgeon’s Certificate Number A 106704 issued to respondent is revoked.”
Ataee had been a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Health Atlast, a chiropractic, massage and acupuncture practice in Fountain Valley. He had been accused of pressing his penis against a female patient’s arm, improperly touching her breasts and trying to get her to bend over while pressing his pelvic area against her backside. You can read a detailed account of the sexual-misconduct allegations against Ataee in this Dec. 6, 2018, Weekly story.
In 2001, Ataee had been convicted of misdemeanor sexual abuse in New York, which ended his residency at Elmhurst. He was eventually reinstated to a residency at Mount Sinai Hospital, then later moved to California. However, the Medical Board of California refused to grant him a license on four occasions: 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005 (in 2004, New York’s Medical Board granted Ataee a full medical license).
An administrative-law judge finally ordered the California Medical Board to grant Ataee a license in 2008.
“Respondent now demonstrates great insight into the incident leading to his criminal conviction and believes he has learned a great deal from this long journey,” the judge wrote at the time. “Respondent has also attended a professional boundaries course designed for physicians where he focused on learning how to maintain proper professional boundaries with patients and their families and prevent any problems with misunderstanding or crossing those boundaries in the future. One example of changes respondent will make in the future is that he plans to keep a female chaperone in the room whenever he is treating a female patient. . . . He poses no threat to public safety, and it would not be against the public interest to grant respondent a license to practice medicine.”
Goldsby’s order goes into effect on Sept. 5.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.