Doctor admits to illegal touching of female patient at clinic in Baton Rouge, surrenders medical license

A 64-year-old Baton Rouge doctor whose physical advances last year on a female patient progressed over a four-month period pleaded guilty Thursday to simple battery charges and permanently surrendered his medical license.

State District Judge Mike Erwin gave Howard E. Gidden a suspended two-year prison term and put him on probation for two years under the terms of a plea agreement.

Gidden, 3228 Chapelwood Drive, pleaded guilty to four counts of simple battery. He was accused of inappropriately touching the female patient, who was 24 years old at the time.

Gidden’s physical advances on the woman took place during office visits, the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, when the patient first visited Gidden in April 2013, he complimented the woman’s looks and hugged her at the end of that visit. He later called to apologize, it says, and by the end of the fourth visit, Gidden kissed the victim on the neck and touched her under her clothes.

Gidden first denied the claims to investigators but later acknowledged he inappropriately touched the victim but said it was consensual.

The woman told police she was afraid to tell Gidden to stop because she needed the drug that the clinic had prescribed for her.

Gidden paid the victim $1,800 for her counseling fees, East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Sue Bernie said.

“He recognizes what he did was wrong and inappropriate, and he’s sorry for it,” said Gidden’s attorney, Jim Boren, who added that Gidden wrote a letter of apology to the woman.

Gidden, who has been licensed to practice medicine in Louisiana since 1985, worked at Gidden Medical Clinic on South Sherwood Forest Boulevard, where the incidents took place.

Boren said the clinic is closed.

The incidents occurred during four separate visits by the woman beginning in April 2013 and ending in July 2013, according to the affidavit.

Gidden was arrested in July 2013, and the state Board of Medical Examiners suspended his license days later. The board disciplines physicians.

In 1994, in an unrelated matter, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners suspended Gidden’s license for 30 days, fined him $5,000 and placed his license on probation for three years after an investigation revealed he prescribed controlled substances in “excessive quantities and for extended periods of time for four of his patients,” according to state documents.