An August 2021 article by Christine Chung for The City reported that Dr. Ferdous Khandker was at the center of a class-action complaint in which at least four Bengali women accused the physician of sexually assaulting them at his practice in Jackson Heights, NY. The lawsuit, filed by litigation firm Crumiller, alleges that Khandker is a “serial sexual predator” who has been conducting unnecessary breast and pelvic exams on patients as young as fourteen for at least two decades.
In an interview with Molly Crane-Newman for the New York Daily News, a plaintiff identified as Bea in the court filings recalls her first and only appointment with Khandker in 2011 when she was just a teenager
“He told me to lower my shirt,” said Bea, 23, who originally went to Khandker for her seasonal allergies. “Obviously, I lowered it as much as I was comfortable, and then he proceeded to pull my shirt with the stethoscope to my left side (…) He exposed my left breast, and I looked at him, like ‘Are you serious?’”
Crane-Newman notes a viral February 2020 Facebook post detailing abuse by Khandker made by another plaintiff, who is identified as Dora in the lawsuit, which prompted many of Khandker’s former patients to come forward online with similar experiences. In August 2020, Khandker filed a defamation lawsuit, seeking $1 million in damages, against three women who made public allegations against him, according to Chung’s report. A New York judge ruled against Khandker the following year and ordered him to reimburse the defendants for their legal fees.
In an interview for Ms. Magazine, Susan Crumiller, the attorney representing Khandker’s accusers, told Carrie N. Baker, “(Abusers) know that shame will keep their victims silent. They know their victims will feel isolated and afraid and gaslit. Khandker’s victims are young women who are first- or second generation or are immigrants themselves. He is willing to gamble that the cost of speaking out is far greater to them than the cost of staying silent.”
In April 2020, ABC News recognized the Queens doctor and Bangladesh native for care he provided to immigrant patients during the pandemic. However, abuse allegations against Khandker didn’t make national headlines until the following year. In September 2021, Daily News reported on the lawsuit against Khandker. The article also found that MetroPlus Health, an insurance company that contracts with both of Khandker’s practices, were first made aware of assault allegations against the doctor back in 2017 and communicated the complaints to his superiors. However, Khandker’s employers took no action.
Carrie N. Baker. “Bengali Women File Class-Action Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against N.Y. Doctor,” Ms. Magazine, August 20, 2021.
Christine Chung, “Suit Against Queens Doctor Alleges Sexual Abuse,” The City, August 17, 2021.
Student Researcher: Olivia Vangelov (SUNY Cortland)
Faculty Evaluator: Christina Knopf (SUNY Cortland)