25 Investigates: Woburn orthopedic surgeon pleads not guilty on criminal charges of sexual assault

WOBURN, Mass. — 25 Investigates was in a Woburn courtroom Wednesday as a former orthopedic surgeon pleaded not guilty to criminal charges related to sexual assault allegations.

Doctor James DeVellis, 56, of Wakefield was arraigned on charges of rape and indecent assault in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a man who was known to him. DeVellis was released on personal recognizance, ordered to surrender his passport, and to have no contact with the victim and his family.

According to Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan in April of 2020, DeVellis allegedly invited the victim, a 21-year-old male, to his Lexington home to complete some work that needed to be done. At some point during the visit, the victim lost consciousness, and DeVellis allegedly sexually assaulted him.

DeVellis is set to be back in court on January 10, 2023.

Boston 25 started hearing from alleged victims of Doctor James DeVellis back in 2016. Those victims, teenage boys, also shared their complaints with the State Medical Board when they recalled inappropriate touching during their visits with Dr. Devellis.

Devellis was working at Excel Orthopedics in Woburn at the time of the original allegations in 2016.

For years 25 Investigates has reported on concerns that DeVellis could not face charges due to a loophole in the Massachusetts law that prevents doctors from being prosecuted on many claims of sexual assault and misconduct. It had to do with the consent of patients that often unknowingly give during medical procedures.

District Attorney Ryan and other state lawmakers have been working to close that loophole by saying a doctor can’t get consent for an act if they fraudulently claim it was for a medical reason.

25 Investigates: Patients claim loophole allows doctors to get away with misconduct

But State Representative Kate Hogan tells Boston 25 that progress has been made this year by passing a new bill in the House over the summer. It is still awaiting approval in the State Senate. However, if it does not clear by the end of this current session, Hogan says they will reintroduce it next term.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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