A Baton Rouge physical therapist has been accused in a second case of sexual battery committed under the guise of medical treatment, and authorities are investigating more allegations brought by a number of other females, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office.
Philippe Veeters, 54, was arrested on a second count of sexual battery this week, accused of touching another patient inappropriately — without consent, gloves or another medical professional in the room — during a 2017 physical therapy appointment for a shoulder and neck pain.
Veeters was arrested Monday on two counts of sexual battery. In the first case, a woman said that during her first physical therapy appointment, which was scheduled to address a curve in her spine, Veeters pulled up her dress, pulled down her underwear and touched her genital region without her consent or a warning, according to the first arrest warrant.
A Baton Rouge physical therapist booked on sexual battery Monday is accused of a June incident involving a patient.
The second woman who came forward to authorities alleged that during her third physical therapy appointment, which was scheduled for neck and shoulder pain, Veeters pulled down her pants and underwear exposing her, and then began touching her pubic region, the second arrest warrant says. Then, Veeters "suddenly placed his hand down into her pants and underwear," the report says, directly touching her genitals.
The incident involving the first woman occurred in 2018 and the incident involving the second woman was in 2017.
Neither woman ever returned for another physical therapy appointment with Veeters, the reports say. The reports also reference other ongoing investigations of similar allegations involving Veeters.
Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks would not specify how many allegations they are investigating or how victims have come forward, but said there are a few.
“We certainly always felt there were more just from the way he operated with my client," said Sarah Wagar Hickman, the attorney representing the first woman who accused Veeters of sexual battery. "There was no hesitation to do what he did, and it was her first appointment. We’ve always felt that there were going to be more."
Hickman said the Sheriff's Office told her there were four other victims, bringing the total to six.
Hickman is also representing her client, who asked to not be publicly identified, in a federal lawsuit filed in October against Veeters and his company, Dutch Physical Therapy. The lawsuit alleges Veeters both sexually battered and assaulted the woman, without warning or consent, under the guise of medical treatment, which is a violation of her rights under federal patient protection and Title IX laws.
The Advocate typically does not identify victims of sexual assault.
“My client's biggest point of emphasis has been for him to stop," Hickman said. "He doesn’t need to be practicing physical therapy ever again.”
Veeters is currently serving a nine-month suspension of his physical therapist license, handed down in November by the Louisiana Physical Therapy Board after they investigated the first case.
The state Physical Therapy Board, which conducted a separate investigation from the Sheriff's Office, determined Veeters' procedure was “clinically unnecessary and needlessly invasive of the victim’s privacy.” The board’s decision also notes the patient should have been draped, he should not have removed her undergarments for the exam, and that other personnel should have been present.
According to the Physical Therapy Board’s records, a similar complaint was made against Veeters in 2012.
"Prior to others coming forward, we weren’t getting the response that I thought was deserved," Hickman said, noting they brought the allegations to the board and authorities months ago. "As soon as another victim came forward, things started to move. It’s sad that it takes multiple women for people to listen. … (But) I think now authorities are aware that it’s a pattern of behavior.”
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said he is also aware of other allegations that have recently come in about Veeters, both through calls to his office and the Sheriff's Office. He said they will investigate each one, but is concerned some may fall outside of the statute of limitations to prosecute sexual battery. Even if cases fall outside of the prescription period, he said, those cases could be used as additional evidence during a trial.
"We would ask that if anybody has any information or feel that similar things have happened to them, that they contact this office or the sheriff’s office," Moore said. "We surely knew that there’s a potential … that other people would come forward. We’d like people to come forward but it’s an extremely personal decision.”
Hickman said she believes Veeters' company, Dutch Physical Therapy, should also be held responsible for his abuse.
Veeters name and photo were removed this week — in conjunction with his arrest — from the Dutch Physical Therapy website, where he was previously listed as a practicing physical therapist and the co-owner with Mirjam Maassen. Both Veeters and Maasen were born and educated in the Netherlands, according to the previous website.
A court filing responding to the federal lawsuit denied the assault or wrongdoing by Veeters.
"Defendants deny that an intentional tort occurred, deny that plaintiff sustained any injury and deny any and all liability," the filing on Veeters' behalf reads. The attorney who filed that response in December said she no longer represents Veeters, and asked not to be named in this article.
The attorney who represented Veeters before the Physical Therapy Board, Floyd Falcon, also said he no longer is representing him. It was not immediately clear if Veeters had retained new counsel, as he could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A call to Dutch Physical Therapy was not answered, and a message was not returned Wednesday.