Salem doctor loses medical license over sexual misconduct

This article was updated at 7:50 p.m. with additional information from Salem Health.

A Salem obstetrician and gynecologist will no longer be allowed to practice medicine in Oregon after a state regulatory board determined he engaged in sexual misconduct.

Robert J. Harder, who formerly worked at Salem Clinic, agreed to retire his medical license under an agreement with the Oregon Medical Board effective July 6.

The board initiated an investigation into Harder April 4 after receiving “credible information” alleging Harder had sexual contact with a patient. The board found Harder engaged in sexual misconduct, but does not elaborate on the incident.

The order, signed by Board Chair Erin Cramer, found Harder engaged in “unprofessional or dishonorable conduct, as conduct unbecoming a person licensed to practice medicine or detrimental to the best interest of the public.” Sexual misconduct is defined in state regulations as “behavior that exploits the licensee-patient relationship in a sexual way.”

Board spokesman Nathan Divers declined to provide more detail Monday.

Harder agreed to settle the case April 15 without admitting or denying guilt. The order says he may never again apply for an Oregon medical license, and his disciplinary order is reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank  and Federation of State Medical Boards.

Efforts to reach Harder through his website Monday were not successful.

Harder was credentialed at Salem Hospital but was not an employee of Salem Health, which runs the hospital, said Lisa Wood, Salem Health spokeswoman.

Wood said Salem Health became aware of allegations against Harder in mid-March and reported them to the Oregon Medical Board April 4. Harder resigned from the hospital’s medical staff in an April 3 letter, with his resignation retroactive to April 1.

Harder’s website lists his practice at Salem Clinic, but as of Monday, the clinic’s obstetrics and gynecology page does not list him as a provider. A clinic representative did not return a call Monday seeking details about Harder’s employment.

Harder has been a licensed doctor in Oregon since 2010, according to the board website.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.