N.C. police report says doctor left suicide note

By David Abel
Globe Staff / February 24, 2011

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Dr. Melvin D. Levine, a former Children’s Hospital Boston physician and best-selling author, left a suicide note before he was found dead last week — a day after a Boston lawyer sued him for allegedly sexually abusing thousands of pediatric patients.

According to a police report filed by the Orange County sheriff’s office in North Carolina, the doctor’s wife, Barbara Levine, called authorities after finding a note at their home in which her husband threatened to commit suicide. Police declined to release the note.

Neither officials at the sheriff’s office nor at the state medical examiner’s office in North Carolina would comment.

Levine’s death came a day after a class action lawsuit was filed in Suffolk Superior Court alleging that the doctor sexually abused up to 5,000 patients during his 19-year career at Children’s Hospital.

Lawyer Carmen L. Durso said his suit sought to represent all children examined by Levine when he worked at Children’s, from 1966 through 1985. Durso said about 15 additional alleged victims have come forward since he filed his suit.

Durso said he intends to continue to pursue the suit against Children’s and Levine’s estate.

The suit alleged that Levine committed medical malpractice and sexual abuse and that the hospital was negligent in failing to properly supervise him.

The lawsuit cited 40 former patients, all young boys at the time, who said Levine performed unnecessary genital examinations. Edward Mahoney, a Boston attorney who represented Levine, did not return calls. Last week after Levine’s death, he said, “This entire episode is a tragedy. Throughout it, Dr. Levine never wavered that his care and treatment of all children was appropriate in all respects, and he steadfastly denied the allegations against him.’’

A funeral was held for Levine in Brookline yesterday.

David Abel can be reached at