Dr. Colin Knight, a pediatric surgeon at Miami’s Nicklaus Children’s Hospital charged with unlawful access of his ex-girlfriend’s security system can continue to work at the hospital during legal proceedings and is not facing immediate disciplinary action.
Knight was arrested in December of 2017 and subsequently charged in February of 2018 with twenty counts of unlawfully accessing a computer device, twenty counts of the unlawful use of a two way communication device, and one count of video voyeurism-acts that were allegedly done from both his personal computer and the hospital network, according to the Miami Herald and Miami-Dade court records.
“The private practice physician has clinical privileges at the hospital,” hospital spokesperson Jennifer Caminas said in a statement. “The matter remains under review and will follow the outcome of the legal proceedings.”
The physician’s medical practice, Miami Associates in Pediatric Surgery, P.A. is located on the campus of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital on SW 60th Court.
A hearing in the criminal matter is set for April 30, said Robin Pimentel, the woman’s legal representative.
“The entire case is built on lies. We look very much forward to our day in court,“ said Knight’s attorney Alexander Fox, declining further comment.
Fox told the Miami Herald in February the allegations of cyber snooping against his client have no merit because it was Knight who broke off the relationship and that the woman, unidentified in court records targeted his client for a six figure payout. Fox added his client accessed the security system to check on the welfare of the woman because he was worried about her mental state.
Pimentel countered that the case is supported by factual evidence that will specifically show Knight accessed his client’s home security cameras thousands of times without her knowledge or consent.
“Every attempt to settle has been initiated by the defense,” Pimentel told Community News. “My client is independently wealthy, and this has never been about financial gain. In all candor, the 41 felonies filed by the State Attorney’s office against the defendant actually minimize the extent of what was actually perpetrated against my client for no less than a year of her life.”
Knight, 48, has been involved in disaster relief for Haiti and is chairman of Sunset Elementary All Pro Dads, a father-child bonding program created by former NFL coach Tony Dungy.
A profile of Knight on the website of Miami Associates in Pediatric Surgery, P.A. notes he joined the practice in 2007. A Yale graduate, he received his medical degree at the University of Virginia. His expertise is in minimally invasive and robotic surgery.
Pimentel said there was “a good chance perhaps cooler heads will prevail,” and that he and his client were we in a trial posture as the state brings its criminal case.
“We are preparing a lawsuit,” he said. “We gave every opportunity to try and resolve things amicably.”
In May of 2017 the woman heard a beeping sound coming from one of the cameras in her home and contacted ADT security in an attempt to correct the issue. While speaking to an ADT representative and after requesting a password reset, she was advised that multiple logins to her home security cameras had occurred during the previous 30 days.
The woman then contacted Coral Gables police and provided them with several pages of log-in dates, times and IP addresses from her ADT security account for the five cameras connected to the system: three cameras on the outside of the home and two cameras inside. Her relationship with Knight ended about a month prior to discovering the unauthorized access, she alleges.
Detectives linked the IP address of the user logging into the security system to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Knight was logged into his computer terminal at the hospital while he was accessing the ADT website, hospital records show. Knight also accessed the ADT account from his home computer, subpoenas revealed.
The woman alleges she “did not access the ADT account at the dates and times reflected in the logins” and denies giving Knight permission to access her security account, according to an arrest warrant.
Pimentel said he was unclear as to whether or not the hospital ever suspended Dr. Knight, or whether or not they have conducted their own investigation into the matter, but it is clear that he continues to enjoy privileges at the hospital during the criminal proceedings.
“It baffles me that the hospital hasn’t been more proactive in attempting to get out in front of this,” he said.
The optics of breaching the highest ethical standards is of grave concern for hospitals, not just externally in the media but even more so for internal audiences, including patients, said crisis management expert Susan Neisloss, CEO of Big Bite Productions, a Santa Monica, CA media training firm.
“The hospital should have issued a stronger statement,” said Neisloss, noting that male doctors are often scrutinized in the current volatile “Me Too” media environment. “We are living in an era where everything you do and say is front and center- a stronger comment offering corrective action is always more impactful.”
For a hospital, it takes years to build a reputation but only minutes to destroy it, Neisloss said.
“With heightened sensitivity surrounding harassment we can no longer separate the public from the private. Everything is under a microscope.”