The Fairfield Wives

Dr. John Parkinson, a civic and religious leader in the perfectly suburban town of Fairfield, told women they needed pelvic exams. Long exams. Several times a week. For years. And they believed him.

But when he did rule, Lew stunned Parkinson, finding him guilty of practicing outside the accepted medical standard and of gross negligence. The judge did not find Parkinson guilty of sexual abuse or misconduct because, he said, the state had not proven that Parkinson received any sexual gratification from his acts.

The Medical Board revoked Parkinson's license to practice medicine in the state of California, the harshest penalty available. The following day, Everett Gremminger and an agent of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency showed up at Parkinson's office to repossess his license, physician's card, and any illegal drugs he had on hand.

Solano County District Attorney David Paulson declined to prosecute John Parkinson because, he said, there was no evidence to prove Parkinson had an intent to sexually abuse the women, or that he had been sexually aroused by his "examinations."

Kymberly Collins grew up near Vacaville. Her parents had always kept their family involved in church activities. In fact, her mother, Susan, had at one point been involved in leading a youth organization in their stake.

For the most part, Kym's life followed a common plan: She graduated from Vacaville High School and went to Brigham Young University. She took a year off to do missionary work in Spain, and came back to finish college with a major in political science.

On one particular afternoon at BYU, Kymberly ran into Christina Parkinson, one of John Parkinson's children, who was visiting the area with two of her sisters. The young women were close in age and both grew up around Fairfield. They knew each other through the church and had mutual friends, but they were not particularly close. Yet for some reason, on that particular day, they seemed to bond. Christina, who goes by the nickname "Teeny," had served on a mission in Portugal at the same time Kym was on a mission in Spain. Teeny had just lost her mother to cancer. Kym had recently lost two brothers. They had a lot to talk about. In fact, they would spend nearly all evening chatting in Kym's apartment.

Teeny Parkinson talked about the problems her father was having with the state Medical Board, which were by then common knowledge and the subject of much gossip in the Fairfield community. She thought the allegations were ludicrous, the result of a bitter woman's vendetta against her father, whom she loved dearly. The charges sounded ludicrous to Kym as well, and she easily adopted Teeny's viewpoint. In fact, she was ready to help. There is some disagreement about whether Kym Collins told Teeny Parkinson to talk to her mother, or whether Teeny Parkinson asked for her mother's help. In any event, after Teeny returned to Fairfield, she and her sisters somehow connected with Susan Collins.

Before long, Collins was heavily into the cause of supporting Dr. John Parkinson. She began writing letters and otherwise doing all she could to help protect the reputation of Parkinson.

When Kym finished school at BYU, she came home to Fairfield without much of a plan for the future. She was 26 years old and very pretty, with blond hair that trailed down past her shoulders. But her friends were getting married, and she wasn't. She went to stay with relatives in Florida for a while and considered getting a job there, but ultimately decided to return to Fairfield.

Teeny was teaching school by then, and she and Kym had become close friends. Their families had also become close, celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas together. Both Kym and Susan helped with the planning and execution of Teeny's wedding. Kym and Teeny passed out fliers in support of John Parkinson.

Kym had periodically suffered from irregular menstrual periods and pain as far back as when she was in Spain. One day, when they were in Parkinson's office, Teeny mentioned Kym's problem to her father. Kym said her periods were still irregular. Parkinson suggested he give her a shot that would help. She agreed, without even asking what was in the syringe. And then Parkinson asked her to come back the next day, so that he could examine her. Kym told Parkinson that she didn't have insurance, and couldn't pay him. Parkinson told Kym that treating her would be a way he could repay all that her family had done for him.

The following day, Parkinson performed a perfectly routine examination -- including a pelvic exam and Pap smear -- on Kym Collins. He gave her a robe to wear, and one of the ladies who worked in his office was in the exam room the majority of the time they were there. Parkinson told Kym that she had a low-grade infection, and that he wanted her to return within a couple of days. He also gave her two estrogen shots.

From that point on, Kym visited Parkinson's office regularly.
Procedures changed a bit after Judge Swager issued the restraining order prohibiting Parkinson from seeing female patients, but the doctor didn't stop treating Kym. Instead of going into the usual exam room, Parkinson ushered Kym into another room, which was cluttered with plants, boxes, and medicines.

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