September 17, 2020

Manchin Statement On Beckley VAMC Doctor's Guilty Plea

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on Dr. Johnathan Yates pleading guilty to three counts of depriving Veterans of their civil rights by sexually abusing them under the guise of legitimate medicine. This plea is the result of the Beckley Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) investigation.

“Today’s hearing is an important step towards justice for those Veterans who were sexually assaulted by Dr. Johnathan Yates during their visits to the Beckley VAMC. My heart goes out to those affected by his disgusting actions and I hope him pleading guilty brings peace of mind and some sense of closure to our Veterans, their families, and loved ones. It is unacceptable that these atrocious actions ever occurred. Our Veterans deserve world class healthcare and should never have to question their safety with a healthcare provider. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I will not stop pushing the VA until we determine how these criminal actions were allowed to continue for so long and ensure it will never happen again,” said Senator Manchin.

Senator Manchin’s Work on the Beckley VA Medical Center Investigation:

·         September 2nd 2019: Senator Manchin learns of disturbing claims of sexual assault and abuse at the Beckley Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) and calls for the claims to be fully investigated immediately by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Inspector General, and Department of Justice (DOJ)

·         September 3rd 2019: Senator Manchin’s staff work with Veterans who claim to be victims of sexual abuse at the Beckley VAMC, complete authorization forms, and immediately share their information with the VA and VA Office of Inspector General (VAOIG) for further investigation

·         September 4th 2019: Senator Manchin gets assurances from the VA that the provider under investigation is no longer in contact with any Veterans at the Beckley VAMC

·         September 9th 2019: After Senator Manchin publicly calls for an investigation, Inspector General Missal issues a statement announcing an investigation by the VA, VAOIG, and DOJ into sexual assault at the Beckley VA

·         November 6th 2019: During a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on nominations, Senator Manchin demanded answers from the VA and challenged VA leadership’s role in holding the Beckley VA accountable

·         January 29th 2020: At a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) hearing, Senator Manchin calls again on the VA, DOJ and VA OIG to complete the investigation and provide answers to victims and their family members

·         April 6th, 2020: Senator Manchin sends a letter to the SVAC calling for the committee to hold a hearing on the reported patient abuse by a former doctor at the Beckley VAMC urging the Senate to immediately investigate how these assaults went undetected for so long and the VA hiring practices that put a serial abuser in a position of power

·         May 13th, 2020: Senator Manchin meets with Desmond McMullen, the newly appointed Director of the Beckley VAMC, and urges the Director to do everything to make sure our Veterans never have to experience something so terrible at the Beckley VAMC ever again

·         Ongoing: Senator Manchin’s office has been working with victims, taking their information and getting authorization forms and then sharing that with VA OIG so they can properly investigated. Senator Manchin’s staff has called for and participated in regular congressional calls with the Beckley VAMC and VA to get updated.