Mesa doctor found not guilty of sexually abusing 9 patientsPosted: Updated:
A jury found a Mesa doctor not guilty on all charges of sexually abusing nine of his patients.
Dr. Gabriel Ogbonnaya was arrested in 2010, when nine women came forward and accused the doctor of touching them inappropriately.
The Arizona Medical Board ultimately yanked his license and since then, he's been fighting to get his life back.
Ogbonnaya was all smiles after he emerged from the courthouse in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday.
"I'm very excited, and I'm very grateful to the Almighty God, that this day has finally come," he said.
It comes after 2 1/2 years of hell, he said.
"It's something that I don't wish even on the worst of my enemies," the doctor said.
The accusations began in June 2010 when a woman told Mesa police Ogbonnaya at Healing Touch Internal Medicine touched her breasts and patted her vaginal area over her clothes, commenting she should have more sex.
Another patient made the exact same claim, and soon there were nine.
Marianne Guercio was a patient for five years, and considered Ogbonnaya her friend.
That is, she said, until the day she came in with flu-like symptoms and he crossed the line.
"He was feeling my glands and then all of a sudden his hands went from my glands to my breasts," Guercio said.
That's what she told the jury two weeks ago. Wednesday afternoon, she said she was disappointed by their decision.
"When I heard the verdict today, I was pretty upset, pretty shocked," Guercio said. "The jury said while they believed the women, they didn't believe there was sexual intent on the part of the doctor."
Guercio said she believes the legal system failed.
"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In this case, I don't think it did," she said.
Lawyers for Ogbonnaya disagree, saying the jury was smart and asked more than 90 detailed questions.
But they do believe another system failed: the moment their client was arrested.
"I think the details that were provided in the press release from the Mesa Police Department provided a script, if you will, for people to come forward and basically parrot that script back, and that was a major problem in the case from the outset," explained Holly Gieszl, Ogbonnaya's attorney.
A member of the jury who wishes to remain anonymous wrote CBS 5 News after the trial in hopes the jury's findings are more accurately portrayed. Here's a portion of that letter:
"The truth is that the incredibility of the women was an overwhelming factor in the verdict. The key factors in this verdict were not only that the witnesses were not credible, but also the flawed investigation led by Detective Kessler of the Mesa PD, and the fact that there was never any sexual intent on the part of Dr. Ogbonnaya. In all cases he performed an appropriate medical examination."
Ogbonnaya said he can't explain why so many of his patients accuse him of abusing them, but he said he is grateful for the many, many others who supported him and looks forward to practicing medicine again, which he calls his ministry.
He is now taking aim at the Arizona Medical Board for revoking his license, instead of suspending it after the allegations were made.
He said he hopes the license can be quickly reinstated without any further drama.
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