Ever since the Larry Nassar allegations broke, more instances of doctors using the authority of their practice to commit sexual assault against patients have been revealed. USC recently lost a multi-million-dollar lawsuit over allegations that a campus gynecologist assaulted students. Still, other allegations have been made against EMTs who sexually abused patients who were critically ill. Claims have been made against VA doctors for sexual assault of former veterans. And now, a NorthShore University gynecologist has pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault against former patients.
The victims told police that the former doctor asked them inappropriate questions and touched them inappropriately. The doctor was sentenced to three years in prison with 170 days credited. More victims may have been present at the trial, but as of yet, only two have come forward. One of the victims said she only contacted police after similar allegations against the same doctor appeared on the News. Thus far, this doctor is facing nine civil complaints filed by former patients that he acted inappropriately. NorthShore is also facing allegations that they failed to act on reports of misconduct and allowed other patients to be assaulted.
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse
Criminal sexual abuse is the base crime. It can become “aggravated” by any of a number of factors. The majority of those factors involve the age of the perpetrator and the age of the victim. Other aggravating factors include the use of a weapon, causing bodily injury, and others. There is no special provision that says that someone in a position of apparent power over a victim gets an aggravated charge because they have that power. By and large, the victims were not of a special class that made consent impossible, nor are there allegations that the doctor threatened them. So, why was the doctor charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse?
Taking the Plea
In this case, the defendant accepted a guilty plea to a charge of aggravated sexual abuse, which is a class-2 felony under Illinois law. While the defendant could have fought the “aggravated” charge which would have reduced his sentence, the minimum sentence for a class-2 felony is three years, which is exactly what the doctor received. He was also credited for 170 days of house arrest, and with good behavior, could see the outside of a prison cell in about a year. The next lowest felony is a class-3 felony, which is punishable by up to five years and a minimum of two years. In other words, had the defendant fought the “aggravated” charges, the court may have still found cause to sentence him to up to five years based on how egregious his conduct was. So, even though he cut a deal that required him to plead guilty to a worse offense, the prosecution could have actually tacked more years onto his sentence if he attempted to fight the charges. Even if the jury returned a verdict that said he was only guilty of basic sexual abuse, he could have faced more time behind bars.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing serious charges in Chicago, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine whether or not the state is offering you a good deal. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and allow us to begin preparing your defense immediately.