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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -
A Savannah psychiatrist is accused of sexual assault after the victim alleges he wrote prescriptions in exchange for sex.
He is now on a leave of absence as Memorial Health is facing a lawsuit.
Dr. William Ellien is someone WTOC knows well. WTOC has used his services for stories in the past on teen suicide and bullying. His divorce lawyer told WTOC he would not be speaking to us.
A statement from the hospital says he is now in private practice and no longer with the hospital, but an e-mailed memo to the Memorial Board of Directors states the man who for the past several years had been director of the Clark Behavioral Medicine Center is on leave.
Now, a lawsuit alleges shady prescription practices, drug investigations and sex for drugs.
"He said he was a psychiatrist. He'd like to give me his card. He could help me," Jane Doe, as listed in the lawsuit, told WTOC exclusively.
The woman, a single mother of four, claims she was a dancer at a Savannah gentleman's club early last year when she met Dr. William Ellien who, at the time, was director of Memorial Health's Clark Behavioral Medicine Center.
"My grandmother passed away. I was grief stricken. Very torn up about it," she said. "I went to his office to see him and he never gave me any counseling. All he could talk about was wanting to get me outside of my work and outside of his work and have sex with him and talked about the problems he was having with his wife."
She says, soon Dr. Ellien was prescribing anti-anxiety drugs and narcotics for her.
"I was hooked on the drugs badly," she said. "He had me on Hydrocodone, Xanax, Colonopin, Restoril. I was taking more than I should and really never had reason to need that medicine."
"All I needed was some grief counseling," she said.
She says they soon entered into a sexual relationship, illegal in the State of Georgia and considered sexual assault under the law for a doctor dealing with a patient.
"He said I'll write you prescriptions if you come and you know, over to this hotel with me and have sex with me, and I'll write your prescription. Just take it to a different pharmacy," she said.
"The conduct was flagrant," Mark Tate told WTOC.
Jane Doe hired Savannah attorney Mark Tate and they filed a lawsuit against Memorial Health alleging negligence, cover up and liability.
"I think they fostered the conditions which let this happen," Tate told WTOC. "You have to live under a rock not to see something wrong is happening for this type of thing to be going on there."
Memorial Health issued this statement to WTOC:
Dr. William Ellien is a physician in private practice in Savannah. He served in an administrative capacity, but is no longer in that position. Memorial was recently informed of these allegations, but they do not relate to a patient of Memorial.
"He brought her into the Clark Center, started prescribing her drugs and even wrote her work excuses and her children's school excuses all on Memorial stationary," Tate said. "There are not only DEA investigations underway against his prescription habits but also the Chatham Counter Narcotics team investigations are ongoing."
Chatham County CNT would not confirm nor deny Dr. Ellien is one of several local doctors under investigation for prescription fraud. The DEA told WTOC they do not comment on whether there is an active investigation or not.
WTOC has been told "No Comment" by legal counsel for Dr. Ellien. Phone numbers for his private practice are no longer in service.
Jane Doe understands people may not believe her.
"He's a doctor and I'm not. And immediately people would look down upon a dancer bringing allegations like this against a doctor," she said. "He was looking for someone who had a lot of problems, who would be easy to coerce and easy to fall into a drug addiction. I think he knew what he was doing."
On September 20th, 2012, Jane Doe filed a report with Savannah-Chatham Metro's Special Victims Unit. They are now investigating her claims.