A former pediatrician accused of giving medically unnecessary genital exams to dozens of boys over nearly two decades in Massachusetts has died in North Carolina, his attorney said Friday.
Melvin Levine died at age 71, attorney Edward Mahoney said, adding that he did not have details on when Levine died or the cause of death.
A woman who answered the phone at Levine's home in Rougemont, N.C., declined to comment and then hung up.
Word of Levine's death came one day after about 40 of his former patients filed a medical malpractice and sexual abuse suit against him. It alleges that, while a doctor at Children's Hospital Boston from 1966 to 1985, he "stroked, massaged and manipulated the genitals of his patients in a manner which was not medically necessary."
The hospital and unnamed employees are accused in the lawsuit of negligence for allegedly failing to properly supervise Levine.
The former patients, all now adults, were between the ages of 4 and 17 when abused, according to the lawsuit. It seeks class action status and unspecified damages for pain and suffering.
The plaintiffs' attorney, Carmen Durso, did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday on Levine's death.
"This entire episode has been a tragedy," Mahoney, based in Boston, said in a brief statement. "Throughout it, Dr. Levine never wavered that his care and treatment of all children was appropriate in all respects, and he steadfastly denied the allegations against him."
Levine agreed two years ago to stop practicing medicine in any state after facing similar allegations in North Carolina. The deal allowed him to continue writing, lecturing and other work.
Stephanie Crayton, a spokeswoman for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Health Care System, issued a statement expressing "great sadness" about Levine's death.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during their time of grief," Crayton said.
This program aired on February 19, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.