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Connecticut doctor accused of unethical relationship won't renew license

File: Dr Nicholas Bennett at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in 2014.
Lucy Nalpathanchil
Connecticut Public
File: Dr Nicholas Bennett at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in 2014.

The Connecticut Medical Examining Board withdrew a statement of charges filed against a Connecticut doctor on Tuesday after he reached an agreement with state health officials to resolve the case.

Under a deal signed last month, Dr. Nicholas Bennett agreed not to renew or reinstate his medical license in Connecticut after it expires on April 30.

Bennett, who currently resides in Florida, also agreed not to practice medicine in Connecticut while his license remains active.

This information was made public late last week when the medical examining board posted it online ahead of their monthly meeting.

The Accountability Project spoke with Bennett and he maintains his innocence.

"I don't necessarily care whether people think this clears me or not, because I'm innocent of what I was accused of," Bennett said. "And that's the truth. And I just want to put it all behind me and move on."

Bennett is the former head of infectious diseases and immunology at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Officials at the Department of Public Health accused him in May 2022 of engaging in an "unethical intimate and/or sexual relationship" with one of his patients several years earlier. The Accountability Project has learned the patient described in the statement of charges is an adult.

Connecticut Public reported last month that Bennett faced a potential disciplinary hearing before the Medical Examining Board.

Bennett said signing the agreement was a personal decision he made based on legal guidance.

"My decision was to allow them to let me walk away," he added. "And when they offered me the option to walk away from it, rather than fight my case, publicly, I took that option."

DPH had asked the board to revoke Bennett's license or take other appropriate action.

Board members instead approved a request Tuesday from DPH to withdraw the charges. Aden Baume, a staff attorney for the health department, said it represents an appropriate resolution for the case.

"The investigative record is public," he added. "The statement of charges are public. This agreement is already signed by both parties and will ensure that Dr. Bennett will not practice in Connecticut."

Under the deal, Bennett also acknowledged the events in Connecticut are reportable to the National Practitioner Data Bank, a clearinghouse for records of administrative actions involving physicians, and will appear on his physician profile, said Deputy Associate Attorney General Daniel Shapiro, a lawyer for the board.

In the charging document, DPH investigators wrote that the patient sought and obtained medical treatment or advice from Bennett on a variety of matters between 2017 and 2018, and that Bennett allegedly “used information derived from his treating relationship“ with the patient to “groom” the patient “for an intimate and/or sexual relationship.”

Connecticut Children's said previously that Bennett left the organization before the statement of charges was filed.

In an interview Wednesday, Bennett disputed the department's characterization of the circumstances, and said he considered the person identified in the charging documents as a personal friend rather than a patient.

Bennett has had a medical license in Connecticut since 2011. Prior to that, he was licensed in New York between 2009 and 2011. The New York Department of Health website shows no charges against Bennett have been filed in the state.

The Accountability Project confirmed with the Florida Department of Health that Bennett does not have a medical license in the state. The department said he applied for one in 2019 and withdrew the application in 2020.

Bria Lloyd joined Connecticut Public as an investigative reporter for The Accountability Project in November 2022. She’s also the co-host of the station’s limited series podcast, 'In Absentia'.

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