Boston surgeon accused of killing wife allegedly abused her for months
The star Boston surgeon who authorities say killed his wife had been accused of abusing her for months before her death — including by choking her and cutting her with scissors, according to a report.
Ingolf Tuerk, 58, was already facing charges that he repeatedly attacked Kathleen McLean, 45, before he was taken into custody for her murder Saturday, the Boston Globe reported.
But earlier this month, the couple seemed to have reconciled, with McLean asking for a restraining order she’d secured against Tuerk to be vacated and saying she didn’t want to pursue criminal charges.
“I feel safe and would like to bring my family back together with my husband,” McLean wrote in a May 2 court affidavit obtained by the paper.
“My goal is to salvage our family including reuniting with my husband as father and stepfather to my children.”
The former head of urology at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton is the father of two teenage boys who live with his ex-wife. McLean, a Reiki master and teacher, has three children who live with their father.
The couple had been together for two-and-a-half years when they eloped Dec. 14 to Las Vegas, after Tuerk surprised her with a marriage license, the report said.
Friends said their relationship began to hit the rocks in November, when Tuerk reached a settlement agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office after he faced accusations of falsely billing MassHealth.
Tuerk agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve allegations that he caused his employer to improperly bill the state’s Medicaid program for portions of surgical procedures that never took place or office visits he didn’t attend or supervise, according to the attorney general’s office.
“The slow deterioration of his career as doctor and surgeon is when he started getting more violent,” Larry Corcoran, a friend of McLean’s, told the paper.
In February, Tuerk was formally terminated from Steward Medical Group, which operates St. Elizabeth Medical Center. He hadn’t seen or treated patients for more than a year.
By that month, McLean was planning to file for divorce from her husband, she told Dover police on Feb. 3, according to a police report obtained by the Globe.
Tuerk was arraigned on Feb. 6 for violating the restraining order. He pleaded not guilty and was supposed to return to court March 4, but the hearing was postponed.
In March, McLean called the Dover-Sherborn Press and spoke to a reporter about her fear of Tuerk and how the system wasn’t working to protect her, the paper reported on Sunday.
According to the February police report, McLean told cops that she and Tuerk had gotten into an argument the previous December while they were in bed — and that he slammed her head into the headboard and then used one hand to choke her, while covering her nose and mouth with the other.
“McLean stated that she felt like ‘she had trouble breathing and thought she was going to die’ and ‘everything went black,’” according to the police report. “During the incident she screamed and one of her kids heard her.”
McLean told cops that in January, Tuerk picked her up and threw her to the floor during an argument and that she hit the floor so hard, her shoes were knocked off, according to the police report.
After both alleged incidents, Tuerk told McLean he loved her.
In another “bizarre” incident, Tuerk picked up a pair of scissors and told her, “I’m the king of this castle … you are only a guest,” McLean said, according to the report.
He then cut off a piece of her hair and sliced McLean’s hand as she tried to stop him, the report said.
McLean also told cops that Tuerk would track her location using her iPhone.
In an interview with cops, Tuerk denied attacking McLean and said the only time he had touched her was when she tried to take his phone.
By the time the May 2 court affidavit was filed, the pair had committed to couples counseling and Tuerk agreed to seek individual therapy.
On Saturday night, police found McLean’s body in an outdoor area near her Valley Road home, according to authorities. She had been missing since Thursday.
Friends described McLean as “an angel.”
“We’ve lost an angel and I think it’s important for people to know that,” Danielle Boland told MassLive about McLean.
The Belmont native worked as a master and teacher of Reiki, a form of alternative medicine involving energy healing. She ran a business called Birch Tree Energy and Healing in Sudbury.
“Anyone you can ask; she was one of the most amazing people,” Boland said. “She spent days of healing and helping people. That was her full-time career.”
Tuerk is due to be arraigned on murder charges in Dedham District Court on Monday. (Copied from the New York Post)
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