The Washington Post

Doctor's Licence Is Suspended

By Amy Goldstein May 1, 1993

A Gaithersburg doctor lost his medical license this week following allegations that he had sex and used illegal drugs with several patients and portrayed himself as the "embodiment of God" on a mission to bring "light and love into the world" by fathering children.

Maryland's medical licensing and disciplinary board suspended the license of Robert A. Hallowitz, 48, a family physician specializing in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome who has practiced in Montgomery County for 19 years.

The board took the rare step of suspending his license before holding a disciplinary hearing and within weeks of a first complaint by a patient.

Hallowitz's attorney, Fred R. Joseph, said that his client would not comment and that he "is denying any guilt or misconduct or improper medical treatment."

The patient who complained told investigators in March that she had maintained a four-year sexual relationship with Hallowitz, which she said began when he instructed her to find a motel room in Gaithersburg and told her she would be "cast into darkness" with "Lenny," the devil, unless she "made the right choice," according to state documents describing the board's allegations.

The documents state that Hallowitz smoked marijuana or hashish during his midday liaisons with the woman and then returned to his office for afternoon appointments.

The patient attempted suicide twice after she ended the relationship in 1990, according to the documents.

"This is definitely one of the most bizarre cases that has ever come before the board. It deals with sex, drugs and a kind of cultism," said J. Michael Compton, executive director of the state Board for Physician Quality Assurance.

The board has accused Hallowitz of immoral conduct, illegal drug use and failing to meet proper medical standards. An administrative law judge will conduct a hearing into those allegations to decide whether they are true and, if so, whether the doctor should be forbidden to practice in Maryland permanently.

A graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Hallowitz has held a Maryland medical license since 1974. Joseph, Hallowitz's attorney, said his client has lectured on chronic fatigue syndrome across the country and was scheduled to be featured in a report on the disease on the television show "48 Hours."

Joseph also said he had "very serious concerns" about the board's handling of the case because his client had little notice of a meeting Wednesday, when the board decided he was a serious enough threat to patients' health and safety to warrant suspension before a full hearing.

According to the board's documents, investigators found four additional patients with complaints. In one instance, a patient said the doctor had told her he "was from a higher spiritual realm" and needed a "lot of money" for a mission that was "bigger than the CIA."

In another case described in the documents, Hallowitz invited a man who was a patient on midday golf outings, during which the doctor smoked marijuana. In 1983, Hallowitz also began treating the patient's wife, told the husband he was "cutting him off spiritually" and started visiting the couple at home as often as five times a week.

For the next seven years, the man remained downstairs during those visits, while his wife and Hallowitz had sex in the bedroom, according to the documents. During that period, the man's wife gave birth to two children, who she and Hallowitz said had been fathered by the doctor, according to the board's documents.