Twenty-two former patients of a retired Norwell pediatrician have accused him of misconduct since he was charged earlier this month with sexually assaulting two girls during their annual checkups, prosecutors said during his arraignment Monday.
Dr. Richard A. Kauff, 68, pleaded not guilty in Hingham District Court to four counts of rape of a child by force and a dozen counts of indecent assault and battery under 14, charges that stemmed from alleged encounters with the two girls, according to court records.
“Since the first two alleged adult victims came forward, 22 more patients of this doctor have come forward,” two of whom are juveniles, Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Beth Kusmin said during the arraignment.
The number of accusers “has been growing exponentially since” the charges against Kauff were brought earlier this month, Kusmin said. Kauff could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of any of the child rape charges, Kusmin said.
“Let alone the fact that we anticipate dozens of more, similar-type charges,” Kusmin said.
The accusations come a month after another local doctor was accused of performing inappropriate examinations on his patients.
Several lawsuits were filed against Dr. Derrick Todd, a former Brigham and Women’s rheumatologist accused of sexually assaulting his patients during pelvic and breast exams.
Todd, who resigned from the Brigham on July 31 and agreed to temporarily stop practicing medicine in September, has denied wrongdoing through his lawyer.
Kauff was released from custody on $50,000 bail and ordered to stay away from his accusers and witnesses and have no unsupervised contact with children under 16, records show. Prosecutors, who had requested $100,000 bail, said additional bail conditions included that he surrender his passport, remain in Massachusetts, and relinquish his medical license.
His lawyer, Kelli L. Porges, said her client maintains his innocence.
“Dr. Kauff dedicated his entire 40-year practice to caring for generations of children,” Porges said in a statement. “Not only is he heartbroken by these allegations, he adamantly denies these charges and maintains his innocence.”
Kauff posted bail Monday and left the courthouse with his wife, Porges said.
According to a police report, the investigation began early last month after a woman posted an anonymous message on a Facebook group asking if it was normal for her pediatric doctor to have conducted invasive vaginal examinations on her during yearly checkups when she was a girl.
The woman received an “overwhelming” response that such behavior wasn’t typical and another woman later reached out to her on Facebook to share a similar account of alleged violations by Kauff when she was a child, according to the report.
The two women determined “that they were both patients” of Kauff as children, the report said. They gave separate statements to police on Oct. 5 and Oct. 9, the report said.
When police spoke to Kauff about the allegations on Oct. 11, he “became extremely upset and didn’t understand how this could be,” adding that he had “practiced medicine for over 40 years without a single issue,” the report said.
He initially said he would come to the police station to speak with investigators further but later told a detective he had retained counsel and would not be making a statement, according to the report.
In speaking with investigators, one woman said Kauff had allegedly violated her during her annual exams from age 7 until she was 18 or 19 in 2002, according to the police report.
The other woman told police that Kauff had done the same to her during annual exams beginning when she was 8 and ending when she was 18 or 19 in 2008.
Both women indicated that Kauff would ask them to count to three during the alleged assaults, the report said.
One woman said that while “a medical staff member would initially be in the exam room, medical staff were not present” during the alleged assaults, the report said. “She stated that on occasion her mother would be present in the room during her exam, but stated that Dr. Kauff, who she described as a man with a broad frame, would position himself in a way that would block her mother’s view from observing what Dr. Kauff was doing under her” hospital gown.
The other woman shared a similar account. She told police Kauff would “scoot her underwear down” and tell her “your mom/dad is right there I’m going to do it real quick,” the report said.
She “stated that although her mother/father was present during these visits, Dr. Kauff would position himself in a manner that what he was doing was obscured from their view,” the report said.
The women had never met each other before connecting on Facebook, police said. Both women said the alleged assaults occurred during exams at South Shore Medical Center locations in Kingston and Norwell, the report said.
South Shore Health, which operates those facilities, said Monday that it is “in the process of reaching out to patients of former pediatrician Dr. Kauff.”
“These charges are very serious, and we stand ready to assist and cooperate with any investigation,” the company said in a statement.
Kauff’s next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11, officials said.
Globe correspondent Breanne Kovatch contributed to this report.
Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com.