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Ex-Dr. Florence Fruehan Arrested on 2 Felony Charges of Battery on Older Women

| January 16, 2019

Florence Fruehan. (© FlaglerLive)

Florence Fruehan. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 3:38 p.m.

When the State Attorney’s Office dropped a misdemeanor battery charge against Florence Fruehan in late October, the result of allegations that he’d inappropriately groped a patient during a medical examination, it appeared as if Fruehan would beat a criminal charge for the fourth time in two decades, including along the way a felony charge of sexual assault.

Today, Fruehan, 59, of 15 Flagship Drive in the Hammock, was booked at the Flagler County jail on two new felony charges brought by former patients who say he touched them inappropriately when they’d gone to his clinic. Both alleged victims are older than 65. Under Florida law, battery of a person 65 or older is a felony. Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies picked up Fruehan in the Hammock and took him to the jail for booking. He was expected to post bail on $10,000 bond.

Today’s arrest is the latest development in a series of precipitous reversals in Fruehan’s career, starting with a complaint filed by a patient with the state Department of Health last year. That complaint alleged that Fruehan was inappropriate with her during a medical exam, prompting the department to launch an investigation. In a settlement ending the investigation, Fruehan agreed to surrender his medical license and stop practicing medicine anywhere. A medical board ratified that surrender in November. (See the original story here.)

The sheriff’s office in the interim launched its own investigation and filed two misdemeanor charges against Fruehan. The State Attorney’s Office followed up on one of the two, but eventually dropped it, saying the statute of limitation had passed.

“Our detectives have not stopped working on this case since it was first reported to us,” Sheriff Rick Staly was quoted as saying in a release this afternoon. “There is still more work to be done but I am pleased that the State Attorney’s Office has
moved forward on these two felony charges. I hope the victims feel that justice is being served.”

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With the new charges, one of the alleged victims was 72 at the time of the incident, the other 77.

The 72-year-old woman who filed the charge was a long-time patient of Fruehan, as had been her late husband before his death in 2015, and the couple had long considered Fruehan a friend, according to the charging affidavit. They had previously socialized together outside the office. The woman had gone to his office on Pine Code Drive on March 10, 2016 for a physical so she could get a prescription medication. The exam was routine.

Afterward, however, Fruehan allegedly grabbed the woman’s hand and led her to another room, an office, where Fruehan appeared to lock the door after they entered. “Dr. Fruehan unzipped [the woman’s] black vest, unbuttoned the top two buttons of her blouse and began touching her breast on the outside of her bra with his hands,” the arrest report states. “He then grabbed her other breast lifting it up and touching it.” Fruehan didn’t say anything. He then left the room. The woman described herself as being in complete shock. She dressed, left the room and left the clinic as quickly as possible. She found a new doctor and never returned.

Fruehan called her twice in subsequent weeks. The woman hung up on him both times.

The woman’s description of the alleged groping follows much the same pattern that other women have reported, including the woman who originated the complaint to the Department of Health, and the 77-year-old woman who filed the other felony charge against Fruehan.

In that instance, the woman, who suffers from hypertension and required regular check-ups–Fruehan was her primary care physician–had gone to Fruehan’s Urgent Care clinic on March 29, 2017. Her physical exam began routinely, as it had many times previously. But at one point, Fruehan allegedly placed his stethoscope directly on the woman’s left n ipple and pressed down, according to the arrest report. The woman felt uncomfortable as Fruehan had never done that before in all the years he’d been treating her.

When Fruehan told her she could sit back, he made conversation with her unrelated to her health (he advised her to get out more often), then allegedly asked her, point blank, about her opinion of oral sex, using cruder terms. She told him abruptly: “I have no opinion.” The woman decided to find another doctor and told Fruehan’s staff that she would be leaving the practice.

When Fruehan found out, he called her four times. She saved the messages.

“This is Dr. Fruehan,” he starts in one of them, calling her by her first name. “I in no way meant that being demeaning to you.. I thought we could be frank and as far as repercussions go, that’s what I thought, I thought we could be open with one another.” He said he apologized “if you got as far as taken back by that, during that discussion,” and wishes her good luck.

He calls her back a minute later, tells her he thought he and she “were more like family, basically family doctor” (though family doctors in good standing are not known to ask their patients their opinions about private sexual practices in the abstract). He tells her that the doctor she had apparently chosen “will not give you the care that you receive from this office,” and tells her he wishes she had spoken with him first.

He called her again less than an hour later. The woman, already upset by the inappropriate touching, “found the harassing phone calls alarming,” according to Fruehan’s arrest report. “She felt he was trying to intimidate her and didn’t know what to expect from him next.” The report adds: “Similar victims with similar encounters have made reports to Law enforcement, those reports are consistent with inappropriate touching of female’s [sic.] breasts and repeated late-night phone calls.”

Those were not the only incidents a sheriff’s detective uncovered during her investigation. The detective listed several of those instances, though the women involved appeared to have declined to pursue charges, though some of them eventually changed their mind. Fruehan, the detective wrote in her arrest affidavit, “shows a pattern of violating the rights of female patients that appear to be vulnerable because of specific medications they are prescribed and/or family losses, and their age. He also displays behavior the victims collectively describe as intimidating.”

The two misdemeanor charges are third-degree felonies that each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, though offenders not convicted previously are unlikely to face prison time if convicted, but more likely to face probation, if a plea, often to lesser charges, isn’t entered.

For Fruehan, the ignominy of the arrest, the jail mug shots, the stain of his arrest record and the continuing public revelations of allegations against him, added to his recent surrender of his physician’s license, may prove to be more punishing for a man who thrived on his local renown and on a self-confidence that exuded invulnerability–or at least a claim to invulnerability that, four times before when facing criminal charges, he vindicated.

31 Responses for “Ex-Dr. Florence Fruehan Arrested on 2 Felony Charges of Battery on Older Women”

  1. TheTruth says:

    How low can you go. I am glad felony charges are on his record now and will follow him forever.

  2. Kristal says:

    What a crock. Such a good Doctor. To bad they spoke up WAY after the fact. Looking for fame. Leave the good Doc alone.

  3. Richard says:

    Really! This should be very interesting to follow through to the outcome.

  4. Been There Done That says:

    I went to Fruehan when I first moved here. He was recommended by a woman I worked for. Being from NY however, even I was taken back by his crudeness and “frank” comments. He was TOO familiar with his patients, and would say things that I felt no doctor should ever say. When he examined me, his body was just too close. His manner was caveliere and lacked professionalism. He was arrogant and ver full of himself. I only went a couple times because I felt there was something “off” about him.

    Where there is smoke, there is fire. To put it as bluntly as he would be wont to express – he is a pig with a stethoscope. He needs to answer for that. I am sure there are more stories. The detectives should call ALL his past patients. Bet there are more who have moved away!

  5. Ross says:

    Palm Coast has some real pieces of work living here!

  6. Concerned Citizen says:

    So Dr. Fruehan turned out to be a nasty pervert.

    He preyed on women under the disguise of his medical license. He violated his oath and I hope that he faces the strictest sentence possible.

  7. Disgusted says:

    So disgusted that so much of this was already in the ears of the public in the 2016 election yet because he was a republican, he was elected anyway. OMG people. REALLY? This is the quality candidate put up by the republican party here? A groper? A grabber? Someone who shames the medical profession? Someone who shames our community?

  8. Steve says:

    I am no Attorney but that said sounds really circumstantial to me. Good Luck

  9. No shock here says:

    Why didn’t Staly call him a scumbag? Where’s his tough talk on this one?

  10. It's About Time says:


  11. Mr.G says:

    there is more to this story than meets the eye he didn’t just go after older woman …….

  12. Wow. says:

    I just can’t get enough of Americans and their “double standards.” Doctor groper = BAD. President groper = WELL, MAGA.. Supreme Court sexual assaulter= BLAME THE WOMEN. I guess whatever works with your ideology, ya just overlook? What laughable sanctimony. Just, WOW. Who’s up for a little victim shaming and blaming!!?!?

  13. Donna Heiss says:

    I wish they would call me. This doctor saved my life and went above and beyond. This story sounds rediculous.

  14. carol says:

    Don’t please anyof that. Everyone jumping to conclusion. Shame on all of you.
    Let him have his day in court.

  15. Dave says:

    Kristal your comments are disgraceful and degrading to the victims. To say the victims want fame for being sexual victims is sick and enabling a predator. This man is a monster that preys on helpless women and he deserves the full extent of the punishment available. He used his position of power to take advantage of unsuspecting patients.

  16. Steven magyar says:

    I was a patient of Freuhan for around 5 years. During that ehe asked me about my sex life and joked that he would like to watch. He talked about me in front of staff and patients calling me a nut job with a personally disorder. I would show up for my appointment on time and he would tell staff the nut job can wait. I once waited in the examination room for 4 hours before he came in to see me. After years of abuse I walked out. He called me and told me to have a good life even though it will be a short one. Freuhan has lost his mind. The guy is mentally ill.

  17. Lillian Bellittp says:

    Mr. G. You are so right. He doesn’t go after older women.
    These people are out to get him. He has a beautiful wife and two daughters. True he is loud and a little rough around the edges, but as a patient for over thirty years,I can tell you that you won’t find a better Doctor, or friend.

  18. Tj says:

    This POS should serve Prison time for Molesting and abusing these Elderly victims.
    Your done, your finished, Get the hell of of Flagler county

  19. palm coaster says:

    Coming form a “nut job” lol

  20. tulip says:

    To disgusted. Not many derogatory stories about Fruehan were being published so the majority really didn’t know about how bad his behavior was. I think most people voted for him because of the Zika virus and people thought that having a doctor on board would be helpful because of their knowledge of the disease and what to do and knowing who to contact and work with to get the Zika virus under control or gone.

  21. KarmaKarma says:

    The guy has been a pill pusher in Flagler County for far too long. Favors for Drugs was his motto. Karma got his unethical ass, it’s about time.

  22. Renee says:

    I agree with Kristal. Why would someone want to feel old ladies?? I’d think if someone really did this they would pick younger and more attractive ladies. My entire family went to this doctor for years and never had any issues. Yes, he could be rude but he took care of people. I also don’t think he was a pill pusher. Most of flagler county residents probably only go to doctors when they need pills. All doctor’s usually give you pain medication if you need it- just in case. It’s not doctors that are getting patients addicted to pills either.. you are the ones that fill the prescription and take them.

  23. I work in a pharmacy, and says:

    I can tell you firsthand that Fruehan would leave 5 minute voicemails talking poorly about literally everyone, calling them worthless, a loser, saying “I can’t do anything for myself”, saying elderly people need to croak, etc. He would call our pharmacy and yell at us for contacting them about patients’ medications. When all these allegations started flying, the first thing he did, much like he did to them, was call us 4 times a day thanking us for our hard work and acting as though we were his best friends. Good riddance to this disgusting man.

  24. These comments are a joke says:

    “These people want to be famous.” “He doesn’t go after older women he has a wife and daughters”

    Not one of you people must have read the “4 separate occasions of him being accused of misconduct and sexual assault”

    Moreso, just because he never molested or assaulted you, he isn’t instantly off the hook. A pedophile doesn’t have to touch EVERY kid, just like Fruehan doesn’t have to touch EVERY patient to be a criminal. “I’ve been his patient for 30 years!” And you’re probably someone he’s not attracted to, or got very lucky.

  25. MCohen says:

    I don’t believe a word of it. Show me proof!

  26. Richard says:

    Obviously GUILTY until proven INNOCENT! That’s how our social judicial system works these days. SMH

  27. tulip says:

    To Renee. I don’t think it’s the age that matters, I think it’s the vulnerability of the patient and the fact that a doctor has power over them. Just like rapists, it’s not looks or age, it’s power. Also there are many older women out there who have nice shapes and some have better shapes than women much younger.

  28. tulip says:

    To MCohen Your attitude is one of the reasons women are hesitant to report these violations.

  29. Gma says:

    Dr Fruehan may be a good Dr. I was glad never to be one of his patience. He was the biggest Jerk & foul mouthed Dr I had ever seen or heard. His wife worked in the office & he was just as mean to her as he was to his other staff. No wonder he had so much turnover in staff. He was a Calvinist for sure. I don’t doubt a word of these charges.
    He may have. Been married but it didn’t stop him from going after or making plays towards other. Young or old.

  30. Gma says:

    Freeman is far from innocent this time & I hope he gets what’s coming to him time behind bars. I was not one of his patients & so glad to be able to say that. He is without a doubt one of the rudest , obnoxious people I have ever seen & heard in such a position of power. He was rude and nasty to his staff & his wife (who worked there) no wonder they had so much turnover In their staff. Heard him talk to patients on the phone like he thought they were idiots. Know for a fact he has made passes at some of his patients, seen it. So I think this man deserves to be punished for what he’s done to these women, young or old attractive or not, it was a power thing for him. I hope he gets time.

  31. About time says:

    I was one of his patients for a long time. I found him to be inappropriate as well, I always thought there was something off especially when he was always checking my private parts. Who knew he had a thing for men and women. I thought it was strange but who am I to judge. Lock em up!

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