On July 15, 2022, former Little Rock pediatrician James Nesmith, was slapped with another lawsuit filed by four men claiming they were all sexually abused by Nesmith when they were teenagers in the 1990s and 2010s, one of them being just 10 years of age. Three of the victims claim that the abuse occurred while they were under his medical care at Children’s Hospital. The fourth victim alleges he was sexually abused by Nesmith, who knew him through Covenant Presbyterian, according to the suit. Nesmith, 58, had been a pediatrician for nearly 25 years before he was forced to give up his medical license in 2018.
This new lawsuit comes after the new “lookback window” was passed as part of the Justice for Vulnerable Victims of Sexual Abuse Act passed by state lawmakers last year. The law allows sexual-assault victims to sue their abusers over accusations that would have otherwise been barred by the statute of limitations.
According to the new lawsuit, one victim states he was molested at least 20 times from ages 10 to 15 at Children’s Hospital Adolescent Clinic, where Nesmith treated him for juvenile Type 1 diabetes. The victim claims that Nesmith would make the boy’s mother leave the room and then make him undress. He claims Nesmith groped him while pretending he was conducting a medical exam.
Victim 2 states he was molested four times between 2000 and 2001 at the same adolescent clinic when he was 15 and 16 years old. Nesmith was supposed to be treating him for juvenile diabetes but would make his mother leave the room before removing the boy’s pants and groping him on the exam table, according to the lawsuit.
Victim 3 claims he was groped by Nesmith in September 2007 when he was a 13-year-old boy in a wheelchair due to arthrogryposis, that left him limited use of his arms and legs. He was there to have his ears cleaned and to get referrals for other services. According to the lawsuit, the boy was so upset by what had happened that he and his foster mother immediately went to Little Rock police that same day but authorities sided with Nesmith when the doctor said all that occurred had been a normal medical exam.
Victim 4 reported that he knew Nesmith through Covenant Presbyterian Church. The victim claims he was molested at least 30 times between 2001 and 2004, beginning when he was 15, mostly at Nesmith’s previous residence on Holmes Drive in Little Rock, but also at Lake Maumelle. Nesmith fondled the boy and made him engage in mutual masturbation, according to the lawsuit.
The victim’s lawyer called Nesmith a “sexual predator” and “serial child molester, who works as a pediatrician during the week and serves as a youth director at his church on weekends — that is truly the nightmare scenario.” He also stated that it is estimated that Nesmith could have over 100 victims over his 25-year career.
According to media reports, allegations against James Nesmith first surfaced when a pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church reported to the DHS Child Abuse Hotline in 2015 that he became aware of allegations of sexual abuse against a mentor within their church. Nesmith had been a youth director, deacon, and Boy Scout troop leader. The pastor reported several teens within the congregation that alleged Nesmith touched their genitals various times during activities such as hikes and even at Nesmith’s home. One victim told Little Rock police that Nesmith, who had been a mentor and family friend, would make him participate in “erection games” and take part in a “naked hang-out club.”
Nesmith was finally arrested in 2017 after he was accused of sexually assaulting three more boys between the ages of 14-21 between 2004-2008. He was convicted of one count of second-degree sexual assault, a Class B felony. In 2018, Nesmith negotiated a guilty plea to avoid jail time. Nesmith was ordered to relinquish his medical license and five years probation. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender and have no contact with his accusers.
Nesmith is a former UAMS Medical Center and Arkansas Children’s Hospital physician who specialized in adolescent medicine. During his medical career, Nesmith was an associate professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science and part of Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s Sports Medicine Plus program, running its concussion clinic. He also spent time as team doctor for Maumelle High School and Little Rock’s Central High School. He was also the youth director at Covenant Presbyterian Church and a Boy Scout troop leader.
If you or someone you know has been subjected to sexual miscodnuct by a physician or at a doctor’s office or hospital, it is important to have experienced legal counsel. We are experienced in handling cases involving sexual assault by doctors and other medical personnel. If you have been a victim of sexual assault by a doctor in a hospital or medical office, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzl