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The former chief of cardiology of a Veterans Affairs Department hospital in Palo Alto has been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose on a charge of abusive sexual contact, U.S. prosecutors announced on Thursday.

John Giacomini, 71, of Atherton, was indicted under seal on March 12. The indictment was unsealed Wednesday to allow Giacomini and his defense lawyer to prepare for his initial court appearance before a federal magistrate in San Jose on Thursday.

At the session, which was conducted by telephone, U.S. Magistrate Susan van Keulen allowed Giacomini to remain free on a $200,000 bond.

VA Palo Alto Health Care System John Giacomini, 71, who is a former chief of cardiology at the Veterans Affairs Department hospital in Palo Alto was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday, May 14, 2020 for alleged abusive sexual contact with a subordinate doctor in 2017.

The indictment says the abusive sexual conduct took place on Dec. 20, 2017, without the unnamed victim’s consent.

At the time, Giacomini had headed the cardiology department at the hospital, known as the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, for more than 30 years, and was also on the medical faculty at Stanford University. The victim was a subordinate doctor, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Abraham Simmons. Giacomini no longer works for the VA or Stanford, Simmons said.

Giacomini’s next court appearance is a July 7 status conference before U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman.

If Giacomini is convicted of the offense, he faces a possible maximum sentence of two years in prison.

Because the alleged abusive conduct occurred on federal property, Veterans Affairs Department investigators referred the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern California.

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