One of 1st women to sue Chicago-area gynecologist convicted of sexual abuse speaks out

Law firms around the city now claim to represent some 500 women who say doctor abused them

Michelle Gallardo Image
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Victim of Chicago-area gynecologist convicted of abuse speaks out
1 of the 1st women to sue Dr. Fabio Ortega, a Chicago-area gynecologist convicted of sexual abuse, is speaking out. Some 500 women are claiming abuse.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One of the first women to sue a former gynecologist who has already served prison time for sexual abuse is speaking out.

Ericka Matos wants investigations into Fabio Ortega reopened.

Matos first met Dr. Ortega while in the emergency room at Swedish Covenant Hospital back in 1996.

"I thought it was a person I could trust. So, I continued seeing him," Matos said.

After remaining silent for years, Matos became, in 2019, one of the first women to sue, accusing the former gynecologist of sexual abuse.

"I just want to ask Dr. Fabio Ortega directly, why is it he did that to me? I am not afraid anymore," Matos said.

Since then, dozens more have followed, with law firms around the city now claiming to represent some 500 women. All are former patients who say they were abused by Dr. Ortega while he was employed both by the NorthShore University Health System and Swedish Covenant Hospital. Both are now owned by Endeavor Health.

"This is certainly the largest doctor abuse case in the state of Illinois and perhaps in the country," said Stephan Blandin, an attorney with Romanucci & Blandin.

SEE ALSO: 300 women suing Chicago-area gynecologist who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing patients

And yet, the now 77-year-old has only been convicted on two counts of sexual abuse, to which he pleaded guilty back in 2021.

Sentenced to three years in prison, he only served one.

Attorneys are, in a letter dated Wednesday, calling on the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to reopen previously closed criminal investigations into Dr. Ortega.

"In these cases, a lot of women are just now discovering that they were sexually abused because of the news. For so long, they felt confused, unsure," attorney Tamara Holder said.

As for Endeavor Health, a statement released Wednesday said their policies have changed as a result of these accusations coming to light, stating in part, "We have absolutely no tolerance for abuse of any kind. We investigate all allegations of abuse that are reported to us, take prompt action in all matters and fully cooperate with law enforcement. Due to confidentiality and privacy reasons, we are unable to provide comment on the specifics of individual claims."

Ortega, who still lives in Chicago, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.