New Jersey Oncologist Sentenced to Jail for Misconduct, Theft

Roxanne Nelson, RN, BSN

July 20, 2020

A New Jersey oncologist has been sentenced to 300 days in the county jail and 4 years of probation, with community service and fines, after pleading guilty to a litany of charges, including official misconduct, burglary, and computer theft.

Dr James Goydos

James Goydos, MD, formerly the chief of melanoma and soft tissue oncology at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, was charged in a 160-count indictment by the New Jersey Superior Court that was issued in December 2018. The initial charges also included 100 counts of invasion of privacy, citing that he had placed secret cameras in a women's bathroom at the Cancer Institute.

Prior to his sentencing, Goydos filed a civil lawsuit against Rutgers and the Cancer Institute, along with several of his former colleagues, stating that he was innocent and this was all a set up.

Goydos' medical license is active and, as of July 16, no disciplinary action had been taken against him by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners. The invasion of privacy charges along with dozens of others were dismissed as part of the terms of his plea agreement that was reached with the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office in early July. As a result, Goydos pleaded guilty to six charges: second-degree official misconduct, second-degree wrongful possession of an assault rifle, second-degree computer theft, third-degree burglary, third-degree computer theft, and fourth-degree identity theft.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors recommended that he receive a sentence of up to 364 days in county jail and up to 4 years of probation.

Goydos was also ordered to have no further contact with the victims or Rutgers University, and that he forfeits all future employment with a public institution or facility.

The sentencing was announced in early July, and Goydos will have to turn himself in on September 14 to begin serving his 300-day sentence at the Middlesex County jail.

Medscape Medical News was unable to reach Goydos for comment.

Rutgers declined to comment further on the case. "We don't have any comment on the sentencing," said Dory Devlin, senior director, University News & Media Relations. "As soon as we were apprised of his actions he was placed on leave and he subsequently resigned."

Firearms and Cameras

The events leading up to his sentencing involve multiple allegations of misdeeds and lawsuits.

In March 2018, Goydos was initially arrested and charged with possession of an unregistered and unlicensed assault rifle following a police search of his home, although it is unclear what prompted the search in the first place. In New Jersey, there is a ban prohibiting the possession of most assault rifles, assault firearms, and machine guns.

Goydos said that the gun was a gift from his brother that was given to him in the early 1990s, and it was kept locked up in his basement.

Police reported that they also found wiretapping materials, including a Sony digital voice recorder and a USB drive recorder that could be used to secretly record a person talking.

After he was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, Goydos was first placed on paid administrative leave, but eventually he resigned after he was banned from campus.

However, Goydos' legal troubles were just beginning. About 8 months later, he was accused of recording at least 26 women and three other people in various states of undress in one of the bathrooms at the Rutgers Cancer Institute and also of breaking into his colleague's offices to commit identity theft. Overall, a 160-count indictment was issued, outlining alleged illegal activity that took place over a 2-year period.

According to his indictment, the charges included more than 100 counts of invasion of privacy, official misconduct, burglary, computer theft, impersonation, wiretapping, falsely implicating another, coercion, hindering, possession of an assault rifle, and possession of a prohibited device.

One of the attorneys representing Goydos pointed out that 154 counts relating to the camera allegations were dismissed by the state. "The dismissal came after a digital forensic specialist for the defense examined and reported on the state's evidence, including evidence that prosecutors claim was obtained through a Rutgers and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey led investigation," said Shaun I. Blick, Esq, of Blick Law LLC, Somerset, New Jersey. "As a condition to dropping those charges, the state required Dr Goydos to plead guilty to six counts unrelated to the camera allegations and which were stumbled upon during the state's investigation."

"Although the defense was confident that a successful outcome was likely either through dismissal of the charges on motion or at the time of trial, Dr Goydos' accepted the plea offered by the state to save his family from enduring further emotional and financial hardship," Blick told Medscape Medical News.

Lawsuits Filed

Following the indictment, two separate lawsuits were filed in addition to the one by Goydos.

One of women caught on camera filed a class action lawsuit against Rutgers Cancer Institute and Goydos. The plaintiff has been identified only as "Jane Doe," and the suit stated that the litigation was on "on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated."

A separate civil suit was filed by Maureen Denman, who was formerly employed as a human research services budget analyst at the Rutgers Cancer Institute. Denman claims that she was fired for complaining about the cameras in the women's restroom and that even after it became common knowledge that the situation was being investigated by the police, the institute failed to do anything about them or notify employees.

At about the same time, a lawsuit was filed by Goydos and his wife, Maria Martins, who is also a physician, against Rutgers University, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Cancer Institute Director Steven Libutti, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom, private investigation firm Saiber, and RWJBarnabas Health. This lawsuit claims that Goydos was the victim of a conspiracy and was framed due to a dispute he had initiated in 2014 over a grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Blick, Goydos' attorney, explained that the lawsuit filed by Goydos and his wife remains subject to a stay pending the outcome of the criminal case. "For that reason, from a procedural standpoint, I am unable to provide any comment as to how Dr Goydos will be proceeding," he said.

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