Valpo doctor accused of groping patient fired from Lake County Jail job
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent March 19, 2013 4:33PM
Dr. Jose Agusti. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 21, 2013 6:42AM
The Valparaiso doctor accused of by two women of alleged sexual misconduct has lost his job at the Lake County Jail.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich confirmed Tuesday Dr. Jose Agusti had been employed by Correctional Health Indiana Inc., the outside contractor that provides medical services for the Lake County Jail, until the news broke that Agusti was accused of allegedly groping a patient and exposing himself to her at his Valparaiso office.
“The minute we found out we issued a termination order, he was not allowed in the Lake County Jail anymore,” Buncich said.
Valparaiso Police charged Agusti March 14 with one count of criminal deviate conduct and one count of sexual battery, both felonies, following a lengthy investigation into the allegations.
Agusti has offices in Merrillville and Valparaiso. The alleged groping incident occurred in September.
Buncich said he consulted with Dr. William Forgey, the jail’s medical director and head of CHI, as soon as he learned of the allegations and the pair immediately took action. Agusti was asked to immediately return all his keys and pass cards.
He had been employed at the jail for approximately one year.
Shortly after the first allegation came to light a Schererville woman came forward and alleged Agusti forced her to perform a sex act on him a year ago in her Merrillville office. A police report was filed at the time, but the investigation was dropped. Merrillville police are reopening that investigation as well.
The news about the doctor’s conduct came as a surprise to both Buncich and Forgey.
Buncich said background checks are done on all employees and nothing turned up in Agusti’s past that would have jeopardized his chances as employment. Since no charges were filed in the first alleged incident that would not have come up during a background check.
Forgey said Agusti was well known to him as a medical professional.
He had previously worked with Agusti in other local health systems before bringing on board the jail staff.
“It was a sickening surprise. There was nothing on his record. He has a clean license,” Forgey said.
He described Agusti as a dedicated hard worker who was helpful to have around because he spoke multiple languages including Serbian and Spanish.
Forgey said Agusti’s termination will not impact the medical services CHI provides for the jail. In its contract CHI is supposed to supply the services of the full-time medical director and 20 hours of additional doctor services a week.
“We always provide a lot more,” he said.
Dr. Robert Ehresman from Clinton will be joining the staff in September. A temporary doctor will fill in until Ehresman is on staff. CHI also recently retained the services of Dr. Kumpol Dennison of Crown Point and staffs three nurse practitioners and a physician’s assistant.