A doctor facing child pornography charges in DuPage County was temporarily stripped of his medical license Tuesday after a state agency found his alleged conduct constituted "an immediate danger to the public."
Dr. Hugo Alvarez of Willow Springs will have a chance to defend himself at a Feb. 14 public hearing to determine whether further sanctions are necessary, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Alvarez, a 46-year-old medical internist who has practiced at Chicago-area hospitals for years, was charged in November after he took a hard drive containing child pornography to a Westmont computer store for service, police said. Days later, authorities searched his home and seized additional equipment.
In an order temporarily barring him from practice, state officials said Alvarez told investigators he has been watching pictures and videos of underage children since 1996. The doctor said he accumulated possibly thousands of files and "can spend hours each day watching and searching for adult and underage pornography," the order states.
"(Alvarez) has been actively searching and watching adult, extreme adult, voyeur, zoophilia, fetish, amateur, celebrity and child pornography," according to the order, which says he has received mental health treatment for several years.
Emergency action was necessary because Alvarez's "actions constitute an immediate danger to the public," the order states.
Defense attorney Tim Martin said the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation should not have released his client's alleged statements to the police.
"I am outraged that a law enforcement body would release these statements in contradiction of Illinois' professional rules of conduct," Martin said. "It is now impossible for me to get him a fair trial -- anywhere."
State officials maintain the order containing those statements is a public record.
Alvarez could face additional sanctions, ranging from a reprimand to indefinite suspension, state officials said. His license would be permanently revoked if he is found guilty of an offense that requires him to register as a sex offender.
State records show Alvarez was first medically licensed in 1995 and had not previously been disciplined. He worked in internal medicine as an independent contractor at several Chicago-area hospitals.
Alvarez is scheduled to appear March 21 in DuPage County court. If convicted of aggravated child pornography, he could be sentenced to probation or three to seven years in prison.