After two years, sexual misconduct charges dropped for Burien man

by Lee Ryan

In 1979, Michael Ikeda, 54, of Burien got his license to be an X-ray technician and performed that job until he was accused of sexual misconduct at Highline Medical Center. On Nov.18, 2011, a Renton woman. Cheryl Harris-Havis, 53, alleged that Michael kissed her, exposed himself and forced her to intimately touch him during a routine procedure.

The hospital put Mr. Ikeda on administrative leave and put a lock on his locker. He was handcuffed, booked, photographed and then released.

Now two years later and after a long legal battle, Mr. Ikeda wants to restore his reputation.

His recollection of that day is clear: “I run a lot of people through, each day. It’s hard to even remember them all. The other hospital workers were around. I always leave one door of the exam room open and they (the hospital workers) said it was just a normal day. One thing is that the reports listed her as a disabled person. She wasn’t disabled, but was seeking the ratings of having a disability.”

He could only speculate about why Harris-Havis accused him. “Perhaps she was angry that she was denied disability.”

On May 30, 2013, the Superior Court of Washington ordered a motion to dismiss charges against Mr. Ikeda, stating “Based upon the facts and circumstances known to the State, at this time, the State cannot prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt”. The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that it could be reopened.

Innocent or guilty, two years of his life were drastically altered. Mr. Ikeda said , “I had to go to court almost once a month. The case kept getting postponed, over and over. I was barred from working in any healthcare related field. I applied for unemployment and got it, but then the hospital grievanced it and it was all taken back. It was such a waste of the taxpayer’s money; it went on so long. I’m now working two jobs. I got a commercial driver's license and drive a parts truck in the daytime and a freight truck at night. I only make half what I did as a radiologist. I’ve learned a lot. It’s a very humbling experience.”

He said it was a learning experience for him. “I’m more cautious – watching what’s going on around me, more. It’s tough getting a job. The house went into foreclosure, once, and we’re living paycheck to paycheck without insurance. Friends have been supportive – helping with food and clothing.”

Testimony from Gayla Gallanar of Federal Way, Cheryl’s sister included this wordingT to Christine Miyamasu, deputy prosecuting attorney. Gayla said, “I’m not going to come and bear false witness. I feel really bad for that guy (Mr. Ikeda) who lost his job. I believe he did something, but I think that she thought she would get something out of this. I don’t believe it happened.” Later in the deposition, Gayla also testified that her sister, Cheryl, was “seeing eyes everywhere – looking back at her”.

Those statements could cast doubt on Ms. Harris-Havis’ testimony. However, Mr. Ikeda also offered information about his employee record at Highline . “I was let go before. A coworker/patient complained. She just wasn’t comfortable with me. She apologized later, after I was rehired.”

Attempts to call Gayla and Cheryl were unsuccessful as, both their phones were disconnected. Scott Thompson, spokesman for Highline Medical Center, basically stated that the hospital could not discuss Mr. Ikeda's case due to the Privacy Act. He said Mr. Ikeda would not be allowed to return for employment.

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