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Police: Man posed as doctor, performed at-home castration

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

By Jonathan D. Silver, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

A dining room served as the operating theater.

Anesthesia consisted of over-the-counter painkillers, alcohol and lidocaine swabbed on a delicate area.

And the person purporting to be a physician carrying out a home castration turned out to be a corporate manager instead of a doctor, police said.

McKeesport police on Thursday arrested a Westmoreland County man for illegally performing a castration Sept. 12 on a McKeesport "transgender female" at the victim's McKeesport home.

Police said Doug Lenhart, 48, of Lower Burrell, botched the surgery, resulting in the victim, Catherine Watson, 43, being flown by helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital.

McKeesport Police Chief Ron Willard said Watson was released from the hospital and is recuperating at home.

In a police affidavit, Watson is described as a "man who had been unprofessionally castrated."

Lenhart, who was arrested at his company, Bachrach Inc. in New Kensington, was arraigned early yesterday morning in Night Court on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and unauthorized practice of medicine and surgery.

Lenhart was being held in the Allegheny County Jail on $25,000 straight bond.

In the affidavit, detectives said Watson found Lenhart on the Internet. Lenhart posed as a practicing doctor who could perform a castration. The two met in the parking lot of New Kensington's Clarion Hotel and agreed on a price of $800 for the operation, police said.

Lenhart reportedly told Watson that he did not want to perform the procedure in his office and then had the victim sign a form agreeing to the operation, according to the affidavit.

On Sept. 12, Lenhart showed up at Watson's home on Grandview Avenue and had Watson take over-the-counter painkillers and drink alcohol. Setting up in the dining room, Lenhart sprayed lidocaine on the victim's testicles and began an incision using his own set of surgical tools, police said.

The affidavit is unclear about whether the procedure was completed. At some point, though, Lenhart could not control Watson's bleeding, and the victim called 911.

Willard said Lenhart does not have a license to practice medicine in Pennsylvania, and does not believe Lenhart has ever had such privileges anywhere else in the country. But Lenhart admitted to performing similar surgery in the past, he said.


Jonathan D. Silver can be reached at jsilver@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1962.

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