By Justin George and Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun
12:38 AM EST, March 2, 2013
Baltimore police said Friday that patient pictures taken by Johns Hopkins gynecologist Dr. Nikita Levy could contain child pornography, and they've turned the evidence over to the FBI for analysis.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi declined to elaborate but said the files reviewed so far contained pictures of patients photographed during medical examinations and could include images of juveniles — which he characterized as a legitimate possibility given the age of some of Levy's patients.
"I just can't get into the specifics of what we found," he said, but added, "I think that's pretty clear — there were photographs taken of individuals who were not aware they were being photographed."
Guglielmi said city investigators turned to the FBI for help because it is better able to process what police have said was an "extraordinary amount" of digital evidence seized from Levy's home and office.
FBI spokesman Richard Wolf confirmed that federal investigators are assisting city police in conducting forensic examinations of Levy's computers and other devices.
"We have some decent capabilities there," he said, but added that "the volume of the evidence might be such that if not us, then other agencies might be able to help us."
Guglielmi said city police hoped to get a preliminary report back from the FBI in four to six weeks, but Wolf cautioned the analysis may take longer.
"We won't even know until we start opening up hard drives," the FBI spokesman said.
Levy was found dead of an apparent suicide Feb. 18 at his Towson area home. Hopkins officials have said their security staff confronted the doctor Feb. 5 after a female colleague became suspicious about a pen he wore around his neck. The doctor handed over several recording devices, including a pen camera, according to Hopkins. He was immediately suspended and removed from all patient contact, and he was formally dismissed a few days later, said Kim Hoppe of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
"All of the evidence is in the hands of the Baltimore City Police and their federal law enforcement partners. They are in control of this investigation," said Hoppe.
More than 2,000 people claiming to have been Levy's patients have called Baltimore police with information or questions about the investigation. Guglielmi asked the public for patience, saying police are being inundated with calls.
"We have made contact with several patients," he said, "but it's going to be a long, involved process."
Two lawsuits have been filed already against Levy's estate and Hopkins, and more are expected. Hopkins also has tapped former Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III to help it with an internal inquiry.
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