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Fired UM doctor jailed on child pornography charges

Doctor's stethoscope

A former University of Michigan pediatric rheumatologist has been arrested and is in federal custody on child pornography charges.

Dr. Mark Hoeltzel was arrested as part of a larger investigation into a sexual relationship with a female patient that started when she was 18.

Police in Ann Arbor began looking at Hoeltzel in December, when the Michigan office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) was investigating that alleged relationship.

The young woman told police that she had sex with Hoeltzel both at his office and at her apartment. Investigators determined the patient was “vulnerable because she has a chronic debilitating condition which causes her to have a dependency on narcotic prescription pain medication, in addition to mental health diagnoses.”

The investigators also found that Hoeltzel saw the patient and prescribed her pain medication more than medically necessary. They report the patient told them that “on many occasions, Hoeltzel only engaged in sexual relations with her” and “did not provide treatment for her disorder.”

On December 11, 2017, police searched Hoeltzel’s Ann Arbor home and found a thumb drive and computer with files containing images of child pornography.

Marschall Runge, U of M executive vice president of Medical Affairs, said Michigan Medicine “took immediate steps” to stop Hoeltzel from seeing patients once it learned of the state investigation. Hoeltzel was later fired, and his state medical license suspended.

Runge said the school reported Hoeltzel to law enforcement and continues to cooperate with ongoing investigations.

“These are very disturbing and serious allegations, and we have reached out to our patients to inform them of concerns related to Dr. Hoeltzel, offer resources and provide them with a way to report any concerns,” Runge said. “Any behaviors we discover that risk the safety of our patients or employees, or violate state or federal law, will be reviewed and addressed with the appropriate follow up. In addition, we have retained an experienced national law firm with expertise in this area to investigate this matter.”

Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit, confirmed that Hoeltzel was arrested on child pornography charges Monday. He has a bond hearing scheduled Wednesday.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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