Local News

UNC Doctor Named in Boston Molestation Suits

Posted April 1, 2008 4:30 p.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2008 7:19 p.m. EDT

— A part-time faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine has been named in four lawsuits alleging that he molested young boys while treating them in Boston decades ago.

Dr. Melvin Levine, an adjunct professor in UNC's Pediatrics Department and director of the Clinical Center for Development and Research, was chief of pediatrics at Children's Hospital in Boston from 1971 to 1985.

The lawsuits allege Levine fondled seven boys while treating them at the Boston hospital, where he specialized in children with developmental and educational difficulties.

Attorney Carmen Durso, who represents all seven alleged victims, said the first man came forward recently after seeing Levine's face on a book jacket in a bookstore.

Levine is a nationally known author of books on how children learn, and he has parlayed his work into appearance on Oprah Winfrey's talk show and on National Public Radio.

"Seeing the picture of him made him start thinking about what happened," Durso said, adding that others soon followed.

"They all basically said the same thing: He fondled their genitals and manipulated them," Durso said.

Levine's attorneys issued a statement denying the allegations.

"Dr. Levine is distressed about the distorted or misrepresented memories from decades past and questions the motivations," the statement said, noting that Levine has treated more than 15,000 children in his career.

Children's Hospital in Boston, which also has been named as a defendant in the suits, said in a statement that management "never had any complaint from any patient or parent of any patient suggesting inappropriate conduct of any nature by Dr. Levine."

Likewise, UNC Health Care said in a statement that Levine had a clean record since arriving at the medical school 21 years ago. He retired from full-time work in 2006 but continues to see patients twice a month in his unpaid, adjunct position, the statement said.

"No complaints have been levied against Dr. Levine in relation to his work at UNC. The health, care and safety of our patients is our primary concern," the statement said.

In addition to his books, Levine co-founded All Kinds of Minds with financier Charles Schwab. The nonprofit uses research on how children learn to produce programs for struggling students.