PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - A Parkland doctor accused of sending explicit photos to a 13-year-old child has bonded out of jail Wednesday night.
Sixty-four-year-old gastroenterologist Dr. Stewart Bitman was arrested by Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies the day before, and he appeared before a judge Wednesday morning.
7News cameras rolled as Bitman walked out of Broward County Jail, dodging cameras to avoid saying a word after he posted his bond.
BSO said detectives got information that, in early April, Bitman sent a number of sexual text messages and nude photos of himself to a 13-year-old girl.
“We actually received a tip, which led us to an investigation involving an individual who was communicating with children online,” said BSO Lt. Andrea Tianga.
Detectives with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force believe Bitman knew he was talking to a child and said he portrayed himself as a 17-year-old boy.
“During these chats online, it appears he was attempting to portray a teenage boy,” said Tianga. “He would offer financial reward for photos, and it seems like he cast out a large net. We are still in the preliminary investigation here, so we believe that there are going to be more victims.”
Detectives said the doctor used Snapchat to find teenage girls between the ages of 11 and 14.
In one of the photos he sent, officers said Bitman “appears to be sitting at a desk/table in front of a computer with his drawstring shorts/pants and white underpants pulled down below his genitals. The text that is displayed across the picture says, ‘How many classes RU having each day?'”
“He alleged that he had a photograph showing a sting that happened on his upper thigh, and he would use that to now send a sexually explicit photo, and that would start the conversations where he would attempt to have sexually explicit messages and photographs with children,” Tianga said.
Authorities executed a search warrant at his posh Parkland home, and Bitman was taken into custody. Numerous electronic devices were seized for further analysis.
7News visited the Bitman home to ask about the allegations, but no one would answer.
Detectives said Bitman used money as a tactic with the children.
“One child he’s preying on is very low-income and was — really needed the money, and he’s saying, ‘All right, well, give me your address. I will send you the money,'” Tianga said. “You know, desperate people, and she did send her address.”
Bitman worked with Gastro Health in Coral Springs. They released a statement saying in part, “Dr. Bitman was terminated from our practice after we were informed of his arrest and related criminal charges. These charges were related to personal conduct that took place in his personal life. We are deeply troubled to hear of the charges and are concerned for the well-being of the minors who are affected.”
Bitman faces three charges of transmission of material to a minor and one count of solicitation of a minor.
Bitman is the second doctor in Parkland to be arrested on charges of sexual crimes against a minor after Dr. Michael Mizrachy was charged with possession of child pornography earlier in January.
Mizrachy continues to practice and see children via telemedicine, as his case is pending.
As for Bitman, his computer is loaded with information and the investigation is ongoing.
Bitman has been ordered to stay away from children in general and to stay off the internet.
Detectives are also working to identify any other potential victims.
If you have any information on any other possible victims, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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