SPENCER - A Roane County doctor and minister has had his medical license suspended following his arrest on charges related to two separate cases, officials said.
On Oct. 31, Dr. Kenneth Seen, 52, of Spencer was arrested on a felony charge of child abuse creating the risk of injury and three misdemeanor charges, two counts of battery and one of assault, said Sgt. F.L. Hammack of the West Virginia State Police detachment in Spencer.
Seen's license will be suspended by the West Virginia Board of Medicine as of midnight today following the arrest and allegations, Hammack said.
Dr. Kenneth Seen
One of the charges of battery stems from an incident where authorities believe Seen stuck his tongue in the mouth of an elderly patient and the man bit off a "significant portion" of the doctor's tongue, officials said.
According to a criminal complaint, Seen accused one of his patients of biting a portion of his tongue off. Hammack said the emergency room doctor that treated Seen did not think the story of the incident and injury added up.
"In September I received a complaint that a 77-year-old dementia patient bit off a portion of Dr. Seen's tongue," Hammack said. "The investigation revealed that Dr. Seen's story was not physically possible."
The investigation began on Sept. 18 when Yvonne Wright, the daughter of patient John Shafer, 77, reported to the state police detachment in Spencer a doctor at Roane General Hospital had assaulted her father on Aug. 31, said Hammack.
"Initially, Roane County General Hospital notified me that a doctor reported a patient bit a portion of his tongue off and sometime later the patient's daughter came to me and said she felt the incident was a crime," Hammack said.
Shafer, a long-term patient at Roane General who suffered from dementia and Parkinson's Disease, was transferred to the Roane County hospital from Cabell Huntington Hospital after being treated for a broken hip, according to a complaint filed in Roane County Magistrate Court. At the time of the incident, Shafer was confined to bed and immobilized.
Seen was treated at Roane General and later Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital.
In the complaint, Wright said hospital workers told her that her father bit the tongue of his attending physician, identified as Seen. She stated the nurses on duty cleaned her father's face of blood and removed an item from the patient's mouth that Hammack said was part of Seen's tongue.
Shafer allegedly did not want to discuss the incident and was not physically injured in the ordeal. He died Oct. 26.
"His statement claimed he remembered pain and blood," Hammack said. "While he was not hurt, the mental anguish he must have felt in his last weeks is significant."
Hammack said that Dr. Jason Fincham, who attended Seen's injury at the Roane General emergency room, said for Seen's account to be true, Shafer would have also bitten his own finger. Shafer showed no sign of injury. Fincham said Shafer would not have been able to pick up any item, "let alone grab Dr. Seen's tongue and hold on to it," the complaint said.
Nurses who tended to Shafer and Seen said Shafer was not aggressive toward them before or after the incident, nor was he physically able to grab the doctor.
Hammack said Seen apparently told CAMC doctors a different story about the matter. Details of the differing story were not available.
"With the investigation and four search warrants into the incidents, all of the evidence suggests Dr. Seen's account of what happened is not true," Hammack said. "For the injury to have happened, Dr. Seen had to place his tongue in Mr. Shafer's mouth. There is no other way for it to have happened."
Hammack said he believes the alleged crime was sexual in nature but there was no law to cover the type of crime.
In a separate incident, Seen also faces charges of brutally beating a teenager at the church he operates in Spencer.
Hammack was asked to look into the matter of a 14-year-old boy allegedly being attacked by Seen as the victim is the son of a city employee.
Hammack said the boy told him that Seen picked up him and his brother and drove them to his church at the Christian Society of Roane County in a storefront in Spencer. The victim said he had been sitting on a ledge over the entrance with his cellphone and pocket knife when Seen told him to get down.
The teen complied and got down, but when he went back to the ledge to retrieve his items, Seen allegedly grabbed him and threw him to the floor, officials said. It was then Seen allegedly got onto the boy's back and began to repeatedly punch him, officials said.
Seen then allegedly took the teen to a back room and shoved him against a refrigerator where the boy said Seen used profanity and slapped him across the face.
Hammack said three other teens allegedly witnessed the incident and gave the same account. No other adults were in the church at the time of the incident, Hammack said.
The investigation is ongoing.
"With cases of this nature, it is not uncommon for other people to come forward once an arrest has been made," Hammack said. "It is my hope that there are no other victims, but if there are, I hope they come forward."
Seen was released from custody on Thursday after posting $8,000 bond.
Calls to Roane General Hospital seeking comment were not returned.