Mesa doctor hit with sex charges; board suspends his license - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Mesa doctor hit with sex charges; board suspends his license

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Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2010 3:45 pm | Updated: 4:29 pm, Wed Jul 14, 2010.

A Mesa doctor twice arrested on allegations of sexually touching female patients no longer will be able to practice medicine, pending the outcome of a police investigation and was charged with the crimes on Thursday.

Dr. Gabriel Ogbonnaya, 43, of Healing touch Internal Medicine, 2919 S. Ellsworth Road, was charged with 14 counts of sexual abuse and sexual assault-related counts through a direct complaint, the Maricopa county Attorney’s Office announced.

Ogbonnaya remains free on $250,000 bond, and is scheduled to appear for a hearing in Maricopa county Superior Court on Tuesday, according to William FitzGerald, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

The charges came down a day after the Arizona Medical Board voted to suspend the medical license of Dr. Gabriel Ogbonnaya on Wednesday during an emergency meeting, citing that the internal medicine doctor may pose an imminent risk to the public and that he will not be able to practice medicine until there is an outcome in the case.

Ogbonnaya, 43, of Healing Touch Internal Medicine, 2919 S. Ellsworth Road, was arrested on June 9 on suspicion of sexual abuse and sexual assault-related offenses after two former female patients made claims that he “patted” private areas of their bodies during exams that would not have required him to touch those areas. As the investigation progressed, six more women came forward and told authorities Ogbonnaya had done the same thing to them and he was arrested a second time on June 25.

Documents from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Rick Romley detail the alleged incidents that document a number of alleged sexual incidents, more with one patient in particular and allege that Ogbonnaya also sexually touched one of his patients after she told him she was pregnant.

Police arrested Ogbonnaya at his office both times and, during his second arrest last week, they found Ogbonnaya locked inside. They negotiated with him for a number of minutes before he came out and was taken into custody.

Ogbonnaya was permitted to practice after the Arizona Medical Board voted during an emergency meeting on June 16 to require him to undergo a psychosexual evaluation within 30 days at a board-approved, licensed facility and required him to have a medically licensed female staff member be present at all times while treating patients.

Ogbonnaya can request a hearing on the suspension of his license to be reinstated during the police investigation. His attorney, Jan Buescher, would not comment Thursday on whether they plan to appeal the board’s decision, but Buescher said on Monday there was no tangible evidence in the case against him.

As Ogbonnaya’s patients arrived at his office for appointments to discover that it was closed on Monday, they spoke out in support of the doctor, who has been practicing medicine since 2000.

“Something doesn’t sound right,” said Teri Sorensen, who said she has been a patient of Ogbonnaya’s for three years. “I’m concerned that someone has a grudge against him and he is being profiled. I was flabbergasted when I heard about his arrest. Whenever I’ve had an appointment, there’s always been a nurse in the room with him during the exams. He’s never done anything out of line with me. He’s been nothing but a good man.”

Police want anyone who may know of other possible cases to call (480) 644-2211.

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