A Gaithersburg doctor accused of treating his patients with sex and drugs and claiming he was God said he committed "serious transgressions" and offered no defense yesterday at a state hearing into whether he should lose his license.
Dr. Robert A. Hallowitz, a family practitioner who specialized in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome, later told reporters that he felt "remorse." He said he hopes that if he loses his license, it will not be for long.
"I have committed serious transgressions against a very few of my patients," Dr. Hallowitz read from a handwritten statement as he stood with his lawyers outside the Office of Administrative Hearings in Lutherville.
But he would not answer any questions about the charges he arranged noontime motel visits with his patients, told them he was the source of the universe and warned them they could fall prey to the devil, whom he called "Lenny." He also fathered at least two children with a patient.
Fred R. Joseph, one of Dr. Hallowitz's lawyers, said the doctor would save any explanations for his appeal to the Board of Physician Quality Assurance. That panel, which oversees doctors' licensing, will make a final decision about Dr. Hallowitz once the judge who presided at yesterday's hearing sends them her recommendation, due within 60 days.
In the four-hour hearing, which was closed to the public, Dr. Hallowitz, 48, did not challenge any of the charges filed against him last month, when the Board of Physician Quality Assurance suspended his license before a preliminary hearing.
"Dr. Hallowitz has made this decision to avoid lengthy litigation, costly litigation and further anxiety to any patients," Mr. Joseph said.
"He offered no defense," said Jean Baron, assistant attorney general.
Dr. Hallowitz told reporters that "today marks the beginning of the rest of my life." He thanked the patients who complained to state authorities for coming forward, "for giving me an opportunity to take a realistic look at myself." He called himself "one person with human frailties" and said he hopes his actions do not undermine respect for the medical profession.
The first complaint against him was filed in March. Eventually, three patients filed complaints, telling state investigators about cult-like practices that included invitations to "walk side by side with him in love, light and truth," as well as threats of "spiritual excommunication" should his patients not "stay in line."
A 1970 graduate of the University of Rochester medical school, Dr. Hallowitz received his license to practice medicine in Maryland in May 1974.