Mesa doctor on trial for sex abuse awaits verdict

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by Christine LaCroix

azfamily.com

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 25 at 5:57 PM

PHOENIX -- It's now up to a jury to decide the fate of a Mesa doctor accused of molesting his patients.

3TV's Christine LaCroix was at the courthouse Thursday, where the prosecution and defense wrapped up arguments in the state's trial against Dr. Gabriel Ogbonnaya. Court will resume on Monday.

The prosecution has portrayed Ogbonnaya as an opportunistic doctor who took advantage of vulnerable patients, telling them they needed more sex before inappropriately touching them.

"This case is a doctor who took advantage of these woman and the opportunities they presented to him," prosecutors said in court. "It's an opportunity case."

Ogbonnaya is accused of 12 counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse against nine different women at his practice, Healing Touch Internal Medicine. None of the alleged victims are related or friends with each other.

When the allegations first surfaced in 2010, one of his alleged victims, Michele Cooper, spoke to 3TV. "He grabbed my breast, touched my crotch," Cooper told us. "He always insinuated that it wasn't like I needed to go home and have sex with my husband more. It was like he would take care of the problem, if need be."

But Cooper is one of several victims that the defense called into question Thursday, saying seven of the nine women came forward only after a detailed police report with specific information about Ogbonnaya was mistakenly released to the media.

The defense also claims Ogbonnaya was performing necessary medical procedures. "There is no substantial evidence that the exam was anything other than an appropriate medical exam you could not avoid," defense attorneys said in court.

Ogbonnaya reached out to 3TV earlier this week, indicating that he is innocent, and that he can't wait for this trial to be over so he can put this nightmare behind him.

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