By Kathleen A. Schultz
A longtime KSB Hospital physician charged in a sex trafficking case is on “an indefinite leave of absence” while his criminal case proceeds.
Dr. Mark K. Myers, 52, of Oregon, a family practice physician with KSB for more than 20 years, is charged in two cases, each with one count of patronizing a prostitute, which is punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison, and one of misdemeanor solicitation of a sexual act.
Myers is among 28 people charged in Winnebago County Court as part of a sex trade investigation centered on two Rockford lingerie shops. He was booked and released Tuesday after posting $470 of his $6,500 bond; he has a court hearing Aug. 29.
Myers, who practices in Oregon, “is on an indefinite leave of absence as we sort through the legal issues as well as the employment issues, “ KSB spokesman Kevin Marx said this morning.
In the meantime, the hospital is working to find a replacement for Myers; his patients are advised to continue to call the office at 1307 Washington St. for appointments and other needs, Marx said.
A former CEO, a bank president, an elected official, a youth soccer coach, another doctor and other prominent Rockford-area business leaders are among those charged after a monthslong investigation into what police say was a sex trade operation at Chantilly Lace, 106 Seventh St., and Exclusive Lingerie Boutique, 77 Seventh St.
The two shops were raided May 23 and shut down for code violations. Also charged was Peggy Smith, 57, of Winnebago, owner of Chantilly Lace; she faces 12 counts of promoting a place of prostitution. The owner of Exclusive Lingerie, Ruth Miller, who had hired attorneys to fight the city’s closure of her business after the May raid, has since died, authorities said.
Smith, who is free after posting $10,000 of her $100,000 bond, is accused of providing rooms at Chantilly Lace to allow for prostitution from March 9 to May 23, according to the complaint.
No one was charged with prostitution, part of the city’s strategy to focus on those who buy sex or facilitate the sale of it.
The women described as prostitutes in court documents are listed as witnesses to the alleged crimes.