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Patient sues former Yellow Springs doctor accused of sex crimes

Donald Gronbeck (seated) and his attorney in a Greene County courtroom during his arraignment in October 2022
Chris Welter
Donald Gronbeck (seated) and his attorney in a Greene County courtroom during his arraignment in October 2022

Editor's note: This report involves details about alleged unwanted sexual conduct that may be upsetting to some readers.

A civil lawsuit has been filed against former Yellow Springs doctor Donald Gronbeck, the now defunct Yellow Springs Primary Care Inc., a previous employee of Gronbeck named Jamie Shirley, and Kettering Health's Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek.

It comes as Gronbeck's criminal trial on 50 charges in connection with alleged sex crimes is scheduled to begin on Sept. 11 in Greene County.

Donald Gronbeck lost his medical license, and was arrested and indicted on criminal charges in 2022. Prosecutors accused the former doctor of sexually assaulting patients. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has said Gronbeck’s alleged sex crimes were “an incredibly graphic and brutal betrayal of trust.”

Gronbeck spent about a month in jail and is currently out on bond on strict house arrest with electronic monitoring until his trial later this year.

The civil complaint filed earlier this month in Greene County accuses Gronbeck of unwanted sexual conduct with a patient he first met while treating her at Soin Medical Center.

The lawsuit alleges that after meeting at Soin, Gronbeck asked the patient, who had suffered multiple seizures and had a history of substance use disorder, to follow-up for outpatient care at his private practice.

There, the plaintiff claims Gronbeck of unwanted sexual conduct with her over an approximately two year period. The lawsuit accuses his employee, Jaime Shirley, of assisting and conspiring with Gronbeck.

Gronbeck's attorney and Shirley, of Fairborn, could not be reached by WYSO for comment.

Kettering Health officials say in a statement that Gronbeck wasn’t their employee, and they have no evidence of the alleged conduct occurring at their facility. They also said patient safety is highly important, employees are regularly trained on it and processes are regularly reviewed.

The complaint also alleges that Gronbeck prescribed medications, often in amounts exceeding safe levels, like narcotics and adderall to the plaintiff, even though she was in recovery. Pharmacies allegedly began to refuse to fill the plaintiff’s prescriptions because “the variety and severity of the drugs were so beyond the bounds of acceptable medical practice,” the suit says.

The plaintiff says those drugs weakened her ability to recognize the extent and severity of his actions. She also alleges Gronbeck required her to make an appointment every two weeks and pressured her to break-up with her boyfriend.

A statement from the plaintiff's attorney, Tony Cicero, says: “I believe the complaint says enough about what happened, which Gronbeck basically admits. What we do not understand is why he was not stopped sooner by the hospital that gave him privileges, or by his colleagues and other people around him. Hopefully this litigation will get to the bottom of that.”

Chris Welter is a reporter and corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms.

Chris Welter is the Managing Editor at The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.

Chris got his start in radio in 2017 when he completed a six-month training at the Center for Community Voices. Most recently, he worked as a substitute host and the Environment Reporter at WYSO.
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