The former cardiology chief of the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System who is accused of sexually abusing a doctor in 2017 made his first appearance in the case by telephone in San Jose federal court on Thursday.
A federal grand jury indicted Atherton resident John Giacomini, 71, of engaging in abusive sexual contact against a subordinate doctor during work at the hospital around December 2017, according to a press release issued Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Court documents show the indictment, which remains sealed, was filed on March 12.
If Giacomini is convicted of the abusive sexual contact charge, he faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Giacomini served as the chief of the Palo Alto VA's Cardiology Department for 30 years, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. He also served as a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford Medical School, according to past press releases from the university. According to a report by the Palo Alto Daily Post, he was placed on leave after the school conducted an investigation based on a complaint filed against the doctor in June 2018. The university did not disclose the nature of the complaint or investigation.
Giacomini is currently released on a $200,000 bond and is being supervised by the United States Pretrial Services Office in San Jose. He is set to return to court for a status conference on July 7.