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A doctor who previously worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley admitted he sexually abused patients while he worked as the Whole Health director at the center.

On Thursday, Jonathan Yates pleaded guilty in federal court to three counts of depriving veterans of their civil rights under color of law by sexually abusing them, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Yates, 51, from Bluefield, Virginia, pleaded guilty to the charges as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

A federal grand jury previously indicted him on five counts of depriving veterans of their civil rights and two counts of abusive sexual contact.

Yates faces up to 30 years in prison for the crimes to which he pleaded guilty. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2021, before U.S. District Judge Frank Volk.

“This doctor abused his position of trust by preying on veterans who came to him for medical treatment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in the release. “As this prosecution demonstrates, he will now be held accountable for using his position as a VA physician to deceive and molest his patients.”

Yates was accused of sexually abusing six men between September 2018 and February 2019.

During his plea hearing Thursday, Yates said he rubbed the genitals of two patients and digitally penetrated a third patient’s rectum.

All of the patients were U.S. military veterans.

In the indictment filed against him in court, Yates was accused of temporarily immobilizing two veterans and molesting them while they were incapacitated.

Reach Lacie Pierson at, 304-348-1723 or follow @laciepierson on Twitter.