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Florida Board Of Medicine Clears Dr. Mark Seldes, a Convicted Rapist, to Practice Again

| June 4, 2011

Mark Seldes (Stars & Stripes)

The Florida Board of Medicine voted 7-3 on Friday  to permit a doctor convicted of rape to return to practicing medicine, saying the crime had nothing to do with his role as a physician.

Dr. Mark Seldes of Tampa was a flight surgeon in the Air Force with the rank of major, serving in South Korea, when he was accused of raping a civilian coworker. He was convicted in a military court martial in 2008 and, after briefly going missing–and failing to appear for his sentencing hearing–served three years in prison.

Board members wrestled with the question of whether a rape conviction precludes a health professional from being able to practice with skill and safety, as Florida statutes require. The rape victim was not a patient, and thus Seldes’ attorney, Kenneth Haber, said the case had nothing to do with the practice of medicine.

Haber also said that the rape offense was not violent and that Seldes had previous sexual contact with the victim before the rape. An account of the case in Stars and Stripes, the military’s daily, said the rape victim was asleep, under medication, at the time the assault occurred. The jury had found Seldes “guilty of rape, conduct unbecoming to an officer and a gentleman, and adultery in connection with the Nov. 4, 2006, attack,” according to the paper. Seldes had pleaded not guilty.

“He was a man who made a terrible mistake to engage in a relationship with an individual who was not his wife, and has destroyed his career and has certainly brought dire consequences on his marriage,” Haber said.

The Florida Surgeon general in February had filed an administrative complaint against Seldes in an attempt to keep the board from clearing him to practice. “The qualities that are essential to the practice of medicine include sound judgment, integrity, and respect for the well-being of human beings,” the complaint read. Seldes’s “conviction of rape demonstrates unsound judgment and a lack of respect for the well-being of human beings–the antithesis pf that which is required and expected of a physician. Therefore, the crime of rape for which the respondent was found guilty and convicted is a crime related to his ability to practice medicine.”

Seldes’s wife sat next to him as the Board went back and forth over what conditions Seldes must meet in order to return to practice.

“Anytime the word rape is used, it rises to a level that gives me great concern, and I’m unwilling to say that this doctor should keep practicing in Florida,” said Don Mullins, a consumer member of the board.

“I take a different view,” Dr. Zach Zachariah shot back. “In my personal opinion, he has paid his penance.”

The board ultimately agreed that Seldes could practice, as long as he works in a government facility while he is under supervision by PRN, a monitoring program for troubled physicians.

He must also complete at least 300 hours of community service within the next three years and give all patients a questionnaire that asks how they had been treated. Seldes requested not to be placed on official “probation,” since that might prevent him from being able to get a job with the VA or some other agency, and the board agreed.

In an interview after the board’s ruling, Haber, Seldes’s attorney, said the rape case was the result of an affair gone bad and that he was pleased with the ruling.

“Under the circumstances it was very just,” he said.

Brittany Davis, Health News Florida, and FlaglerLive

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11 Responses for “Florida Board Of Medicine Clears Dr. Mark Seldes, a Convicted Rapist, to Practice Again”

  1. elaygee says:

    How many people do you have to rape to lose your license to practice medicine in Florida?

    3, 4? 20?

  2. Jason Sanders says:

    This is incredibly ludicrous. The Florida Board of Medicine needs to be investigated.
    By their “logic”, bank robbery, arson and burglary are also not related to the practice of medicine.

    Carol L. Gregg, Assistant General Counsel of the Florida Department of Health said in a complaint against Mark A. Seldes:

    “rape directly relates to his ability to practice medicine in that the crime demonstrates a lack of integrity, honesty, and
    respect for the well-being of human beings”… “conviction of rape demonstrates unsound judgment and a lack of respect for the well-being of human beings – the antithesis of that which is required and expected of a licensed physcian. Therefore, the crime of rape for which Responded was found guilty and convicted is a crime related to his ability to practice medicine.”

    Probable Cause Members Ashkar, Lage and Levine agreed with Gregg.

    See complaint here:

    Who were the 4 board members who voted that rape is not related to the practice of medicine?
    Who are the 3 board members who voted rape is related to the practice of medicine?

  3. cyd says:

    What exactly is a ‘non-violent’ rape. Are these people crazy? Not only did he dishonor his position as a major in the Air Force he disgraced his profession as a doctor. Who the heck are these people that are worried that he might not be able to get a position at the VA or some other facility? Their decision is just ludicrous.

  4. Tom Brown says:

    Actually the Health Dept. gave the board a wide range of options. They could have let him off with just an administrative fine or a reprimand. This is a sad commentary on Florida’s regulation of professionals.

  5. Charles Ericksen, Jr says:

    He should be required to post a sign at the entrance to his office, of his crime, and then see how many patients he gets.

  6. palmcoaster says:

    Unacceptable to say the least

  7. Dr. Feelgood says:

    I would also say it has much to do with his profession as a doctor. She was in a state similar to those that are sedated or knocked out for surgery when he took advantage of her.

  8. Here Comes the Judge says:

    Being a victim of an Air Force Court Martial many many years ago, I question the quality of evidence that was presented in this “Officers” court martial. It was probably determined before the trial took place, what the outcome would be. The Adjudant General probably just took comments from the victim, (who most likely was related to another Air Force soldier or someone’s superior), and without further investigation made his recommendation to the Judge over a few drinks at the officers club. A military Court Martial is a joke. Nothing like the courts we hear about on TV. The difference is that there in no public input to a military court martial or media access. It’s who ever has the highest rank that counts. Not “Law”. Been there done that…… I would venture to say that in a court of law, the military court martial would have been overturned. But that is not permitted because of military law. They do whatever they want.

  9. Gleaming the Cube says:

    It should be noted, as hard as it is to get into medical school these days, we don’t have a burning need for more physicians. To allow this CONVICTED rapist to practice is preposterous, and Floridians should be outraged. If you are getting a rectal exam by Seldes, and you feel two hands on your shoulders, don’t say that I didn’t tell you so.

  10. Run away says:

    I worked with this guy in the past, he should not be practicing medicine. We all saw the signs that something was not quite right back then!

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