Board allows doctor accused of sexual abuse to keep practicing medicine - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Board allows doctor accused of sexual abuse to keep practicing medicine

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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 5:27 pm | Updated: 4:29 pm, Wed Jul 14, 2010.

A Mesa doctor accused of touching female patients in a sexual manner and now arrested twice for it, is able to keep practicing, but with restrictions on his medical license, according to the executive director of the Arizona Medical Board.

Lisa Wynn, executive director of the board which oversees medical doctors required to have a license and disciplines them for wrongdoing, told the Tribune on Monday that during an emergency meeting on June 16, the board decided to require Dr. Gabriel Ogbonnaya to have a medically licensed female "chaperone" in the room with him at all times when he is with a patient. Wynn also said that Ogbonnaya is required to complete a psychosexual evaluation within the next 30 days at a board-approved facility to determine any underlying factors of his mental condition and what kind of danger he could be to the public.

Ogbonnaya, 43, of Healing Touch Internal Medicine, 2919 S. Ellsworth Road, has been practicing internal medicine since 2000. He was arrested a second time in his office on Friday on suspicion of eight counts of sexual abuse and two counts of sexual assault after six more former female patients contacted Mesa police. The former patients told police they also had been inappropriately touched by Ogbonnaya while under his care. Police found the doctor locked inside his office, and negotiated with him for a number of minutes before he came out and was taken into custody.

Ogbonnaya, who graduated from the University of Nigeria in 1992 and served his residency at Interfaith Medicine in Brooklyn, N.Y. from 2000 to 2003, was first arrested on suspicion of similar sexual-related offenses at his office on June 9. Police launched an investigation into the claims made by two women that he "patted" private areas of their bodies at his office during exams that would not have required him to touch those areas, according to police.

Ogbonnaya's attorney, Jan Buescher, said during a press conference in front of Ogbonnaya's office with members of his staff on Monday that she is confident that the doctor will be "exonerated fully" and that there is no tangible evidence that proves he committed such offenses.

Buescher also said that Ogbonnaya does not plan to stop practicing during the investigation and has written letters to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office sex crimes bureau chief, complaining about the process police used when they arrested Ogbonnaya.

"Everyone in the medical profession should be absolutely terrified," Buescher said. "I don't know what happened to innocent until proven guilty, but it's gone somewhere. When police arrested him at his office in front of his patients, they didn't use a summons or a search warrant. This is an outrage."

The investigation is ongoing.

Police have requested that anyone who was an alleged victim or may know of an alleged victim, call Mesa police at (480) 644-2211.

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