Michigan doctor Donn Ketcham didn’t have to admit to any of the allegations against him when he agreed in 2012 to permanently give up his license to practice. And, as the AJC found happens far too often, the medical board didn’t see the need to explain much in the one document it made public.
That agreement explained only that medical regulators found he had violated “sections 16221(a) and (b)(vi) of the Public Health Code.” Those who looked up the laws would see that he was cited for a violation of general duty and lack of good moral character.
Not stated: The year before, the state learned of allegations he had sexually abused a child back in 1989 while he was serving as a Baptist missionary in Bangladesh.
The Association of Baptist World Evangelism had fired him in 1989. But it didn’t report him to police. What’s more, it told other missionaries not to talk about the case and made no effort to discover if Ketcham had violated other children. Ketcham returned to the U.S. and began working as a doctor in Michigan.
By the 1990s, ABWE had clear evidence that there were additional victims, both patients and children of other missionaries. In the early 2000s, an in-house investigation began but was never completed. It wasn’t until victims launched a website detailing their abuse that ABWE acknowledged what Ketcham had done. This past April, the group concluded its own investigation, confirming that he had sexually abused nearly 20 minors and four adult women. The abuse included sexual assault and apparent drugging, ABWE says.
Ketcham, who is now in his 80s, apparently still could face criminal charges, though not for the children he violated as a missionary. In August, a Michigan TV station reported that law enforcement authorities were investigating a woman’s complaint that he had abused her during an exam in his Michigan office when she 5.
He lives in Wyoming, according to news reports, and could not be reached for comment.