Tips of abuse mounting statewide against 'hockey doc' in Farmington Hills

Farmington Hills police said they’ve received 33 tips from people who said they had additional knowledge about a doctor who already faces numerous charges of criminal sexual conduct resulting from his treatments of youth hockey players.

Dr. Zvi Levran was initially alleged to have sexually assaulted youths in treatments he conducted at his home in Farmington Hills, but the rapidly widening case now involves investigations in Grand Rapids and East Lansing, and it could spread to other states, Farmington Hills Police Chief Jeff King said.

The department has established a 24-hour tip line. "We strongly encourage anyone who has information relevant to these incidents to call our command desk at 248-871-2610," King said at a news conference held Wednesday at Farmington Hills police headquarters.

The expanding tale of Levran's alleged crimes adds to Michigan’s shocking toll of authority figures from youth sports being charged with criminal sexual conduct. The fact that Levran is a doctor, and treating patients at an impressive home office on an upscale street in Farmington Hills, had put him in a position of authority over his patients, similar to the status long abused by the imprisoned former therapist of girl gymnasts, Dr. Larry Nassar, legal experts have said.

Tips have come from individuals in Farmington Hills, Novi, Livonia, West Bloomfield and Redford Township, and also from people in California, Georgia, North Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona and Canada, all reporting "suspicious and possibly criminal activity,” King said.

Levran, 66, has been associated with youth hockey teams in Michigan and Minnesota for at least two decades, and he was licensed to practice in those states as well as Ohio, Georgia and Iowa, King said. In addition to at least 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct Levran faces — ranging from sexual touching of minors to oral or anal sexual penetration — new information points to the likelihood that more charges may be filed against the man police refer to as “the hockey doctor,” according to King’s presentation.

After police investigated recent tips, “several new allegations of sexual abuse stemming from medical examinations at his home office in Farmington Hills, as well as medical offices where he practiced, were brought forward,” King said, adding that five investigations had been "referred to outside jurisdictions for follow-up on potential criminal conduct."

More:Oakland sports doctor charged with sexual assault of player in home office

More:Youth sports doctor arrested again, faces more sex assault charges

Levran's attorney Joe Lavigne pleaded not guilty on his client's behalf at each of two arraignments. Levran is married and has three adult children, Lavigne said. Levran, who is a urologist with sports-medicine credentials, has been in custody since turning himself in to police on Nov. 10; he was free on $100,000 bond posted after initial charged were filed against him in late October, but he has been unable to post the new bond of $1 million cash or surety, Lavigne said. Levran has been held at the Oakland County Jail since Nov. 11, according to jail records. Lavigne said he was unable to comment on the case because he has not yet been able to obtain documents from prosecutors.

"We're looking forward to defending the charges," he said.

Early on, Farmington Hills police revealed that the first complainant was a 19-year-old man. He notified Farmington Hills police after an exam at Levran's house on Oct. 18, when "it was alleged that during this medical examination, Dr. Levran sexually assaulted his patient," police said in a news release several days later.

Since then, police have declined to reveal the gender of those who say they’ve been victimized by the doctor’s treatments, nor will they state the ages of those complaining. But because the cases involve youth hockey players, additional cases may involve young men. Men and boys are more reluctant than women and girls to report a sexual assault or sexually abusive health care, said Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, who joined King at the news conference.

“I want to commend the survivors who came forward for their courage. I also want to encourage any additional survivors to come forward. ... You will be treated respectfully,” McDonald said.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Sex-abuse tips grow statewide against 'hockey doc' in Farmington Hills