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When No One Listens
An update on Sherri Moler's fight for justice
In February, I wrote about Sherri Moler’s fight to get the medical license of the man she says abused her revoked. Today, that man was arrested for abusing a minor. This is an update on the story.
Almost every month for the past two and a half years, Sherri Moler logged into the Zoom meeting for the Iowa Board of Medicine meetings to say the same thing:
“I’m Sherri Moler; I was 13 years old when Dr. Lynn Lindaman sexually abused me at the University of Iowa. I have pleaded and begged of you to take action… As we all know, he is still practicing. I have no idea why.”
The Board of Medicine never revoked Dr. Lindaman’s license and he retired earlier this year. But today, Dr. Lynn Lindaman was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual abuse in the second degree against a minor.
Tonight, I spoke with Moler on the phone and she was relieved and outraged. She felt sick. Her mind was spinning, trying to imagine what more she could have done. She felt responsible. She was also relieved. This is what she said:
The fact that this happened while I was working with the Iowa Board of Medicine makes me upset. What upsets me the most is that it happened to a minor and, that it happened since I made the Board of Medicine aware of the situation. Which, in my mind, means it was preventable. I’ve never been able to have them explain to me why they never revoked his license.
I am so mad that they did nothing. And I know that I did everything that I possibly could. I know that I worked my ass off to make them aware and to inform them. But I don’t understand why he was allowed to continue.
My biggest fear all along was that there would be another victim.
It makes me upset because I believe if he would have lost his license when I first filed this complaint. this would have been preventable.
In the summer of 1975, Moler was a 13-year-old at a gymnastics camp at the University of Iowa. She had trouble with her back and went to the on-campus clinic for treatment. There, Moler says, an athletic trainer named Lynn Lindaman assaulted her during her appointment. She ran out of the clinic and reported the assault to an RA, who called campus security.
On Feb. 26, 1976, a jury found Lindaman had committed “lascivious acts with a person under the age of sixteen.” However, the judge gave Lindaman a deferred judgment, which meant that after he served probation, the court sealed public documentation of the case. Deferred judgments are given when an offender has no prior record and the crime isn’t a forcible felony.
And the charge of “lascivious acts with a person under the age of sixteen” is not a forcible felony.
The public record of the court’s response to the verdict has been expunged by Iowa law governing deferred judgments.
After working as an athletic trainer, Lindaman became a doctor and had his Iowa medical license in good standing, and was practicing medicine until he retired this spring.
In July 2020, Moler, an Iowa resident, was visiting Des Moines when she saw an internet ad for a medical clinic. The doctor in the ad was the man whom she accused of assaulting her when she was 13. She recalled being shocked and scared; nervous that other girls might be at risk.
So, for nearly three years, Sherri has been fighting to hold Lindaman accountable. When the Iowa Medical Board met her complaints with silence, she wrote to the insurance companies, hospitals, and organizations that Lindaman worked with. She showed me the letters she typed up and sent to news outlets and ethics boards. She didn’t believe he was safe, she wanted everyone to know.
Moler told me that there were some days that she wanted to stop. She spent thousands of dollars of her own money and so many more hours trying to prevent anyone else from being hurt.
In May, she filed a civil suit against Dr. Lindaman seeking $150,000 in punitive and actual damages. But she still wonders what else she could have done.
When I wrote about Moler’s story in February, what struck me most were the silences. I watched the impassive faces of the Board of Medicine on the Zoom meeting as Sherri Moler spoke. When I reached out, people didn’t respond to calls and emails. I spoke to a couple of journalists on background who admitted that their newsrooms weren’t eager to touch the story. And maybe it was because Lindaman referred journalists to his lawyer. No one wants a legal battle. Or maybe people just didn’t believe the story really. It’s hard to know.
It was a choking kind of silence.
A deep dark kind of silence where you wonder and worry about what else lies beneath it. The kind of silence you could drown in.
This is not a passive silence, it’s an active one, one that makes the truth unspeakable. The silence, Moler said made her feel like she was just a crazy woman that everyone wanted to stop talking.
But she didn’t stop talking.
And tonight, Dr. Lindaman was arrested on two counts of sexual abuse in the second degree against a minor. Alleged abuse that Moler believes happened while she was fighting to get his license revoked.
I will keep writing and reporting this story as it unfolds. I think it speaks to the truth about sexual violence, and how abusers hide in the system and in silences. And it’s an important story to tell in a state that is quick to ban LGBTQ-themed books from classrooms to “protect kids” while allowing abusers to continue to practice medicine.