Lincoln doctor accused of sexually abusing patients


A Lincoln doctor has been arrested in connection to alleged sexually inappropriate behavior with patients he was treating for substance abuse or mental health issues.

The Metro Area Fugitive Task Force arrested Dr. Scott E. Schmidt, 54, at his home Thursday morning without incident.

Scott Schmidt

Scott Schmidt

A warrant went out for his arrest a day earlier.

In the probable cause affidavit for Schmidt’s arrest, Jeremy Schwarz, an investigator with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, said he learned about the allegations, which he said involved five known victims, young men in their 20s and early 30s, in a call from a DEA agent on Aug. 3 and at a later meeting with him and an investigator with the Nebraska Department of Licensure.

Schwarz said two of the five filed reports with the Lincoln Police Department earlier this year, but their cases were inactive by August, when he began his investigation.

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He said on Aug. 14, one of the accusers — a former patient of Schmidt’s at Pine Lake Behavioral Health & Medical — came to the Sheriff’s Office with audio and a video recorded statement.

The man alleged that after he disclosed to Schmidt he had been drinking, Schmidt came over to his apartment on May 27 and ended up pulling down his gym shorts, exposing himself to him and offering oral sex.

Schwarz said phone records show that Schmidt later apologized by text saying, “Sorry if I was outa (sic) line.”

When he didn’t respond, Schmidt sent another text saying if he didn’t want to come in for his appointment the following Monday it was OK.

On Sept. 16, another accuser came to the Sheriff’s Office with audio and a video recorded statement.

He told Schwarz he had been Schmidt’s patient from 2016 until he was fired June 10. On his first visit, he said, Schmidt gave him a cellphone to communicate. Later, he expected him to send pictures. He now feels like the doctor was grooming him.

He described an incident where Schmidt asked him to come over to his house and talked about “gay stuff.” When he told him he was straight and that he didn’t want any part of it, he said Schmidt told him not to mess with him, “I’ll ruin your life.” He told Schwarz he felt extorted.

He told Schwarz he feared Schmidt, who is an addiction medicine specialist, would cut him off from his medication for severe depression and anxiety and tell other doctors not to take him as a patient, and worried he would have to resort to buying drugs on the street.

In later office visits, he alleged that Schmidt would tell him he wasn’t sending him enough pictures and he needed to step it up.

He told Schwarz approximately half of his visits to Schmidt resulted in Schmidt examining his genitals and on one occasion touching him.

On Sept. 16, a 28-year-old man went to the Sheriff’s Office with more allegations of a similar nature. He said while he was a patient, he moved in with Schmidt, a longtime family friend.

He told Schwarz he started feeling unsafe there after Schmidt offered to pay him $2,000 to touch himself. He told him not to ask again.

In court records, the investigator said after taking nighttime medication the previous night the 28-year-old woke to find Schmidt had lifted his shirt and was looking at his penis.

He told him to get out and later learned he’d sexually abused him multiple times while he slept, Schwarz said.

Schmidt is facing charges of first-degree sexual assault and second-degree sexual assault related to two of his accusers.

He hasn’t yet made a first court appearance in the case.

Attorneys Eric Brown and Christa Israel, who are representing four of Schmidt’s accusers, said Schmidt’s practice of medicine and history of red flags is troubling.

His medical license had previously been suspended in 2014 over alcohol use, according to state medical licensing records.

“We are pleased the state is moving forward with consequences criminally. Unfortunately, the victims of Dr. Schmidt’s betrayal of trust are now forced to deal with a lifetime of trauma. It’s just all extremely sad,” Brown and Israel said in a statement.

Brown and Israel — and the Sheriff’s Office — encouraged anyone with information concerning Schmidt’s alleged misconduct with patients, or enabling of that misconduct, to confidentially come forward to either the Sheriff’s Office, Lancaster County Attorney’s Office or their law office.

Dr. Jared Ray at Pine Lake Behavioral Health & Medical said once they became aware of the allegations against Schmidt “we acted swiftly and decisively.”

“Our primary concern at this time is the health and safety of our patients and providers and we are confident that the justice system will do what it needs to do in this situation,” he said.

Ray said they look forward to continuing to provide medically necessary care for the Lincoln community, “and we will remain future focused, hopefully putting this behind us and remaining committed to helping individuals and families seeking lasting change and better health.”

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