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Press Release

Former Chief Of Cardiology At Palo Alto VA Hospital Indicted For Sexual Battery Of Subordinate Doctor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN JOSE - A federal grand jury in San Jose indicted Dr. John Giacomini for Abusive Sexual Contact, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge James K. Wahleithner of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division (“VA OIG”), and Chief of Police Martin Sizemore of the Veterans Affairs Police Service, Palo Alto Health Care Division.

According to the indictment, Giacomini, 71, of Atherton, is alleged to have subjected the victim, a subordinate doctor under Giacomini’s supervision, to unwanted and nonconsensual sexual contact in December of 2017 while both were on duty at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.  At the time, Giacomini was the Chief of the Palo Alto VA’s Cardiology Department.  He had served in this position for over 30 years and also served on the medical faculty at Stanford University.  Since the alleged sexual battery happened on federal property, the VA OIG referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for federal prosecution.  Giacomini no longer works at the Palo Alto VA Hospital or Stanford University.

Giacomini made his initial appearance by telephone on May 14, 2020.  Giacomini is currently released on a $200,000 bond under the supervision of the United States Pretrial Services Office in San Jose.  Giacomini’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 7, 2020, for a status conference before the Hon. Beth L. Freeman, United States District Judge.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Giacomini faces a maximum sentence of two years of imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, restitution, supervised release, and a special assessment.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Nedrow and Marissa Harris are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Jessica Leung and Susan Kreider.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the VA OIG and the Veterans Affairs Police Service.

Updated May 14, 2020

Violent Crime