Doctor accused of sexually abusing patients found not guilty

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by Andrew Michalscheck

Video report by Natalie Brand

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 4 at 12:56 PM

PHOENIX -- An East Valley doctor accused of sexually abusing or assaulting multiple female patients has been found not guilty of all charges.

On Wednesday, a jury found Gabriel Ogbonnaya, 46, not guilty of 11 counts of sexual abuse and one count of sexual assault.

Ogbonnanya told 3TV he cried “tears of joy” following the jury’s decision.

“I’m grateful to the lord that today has come,” Ogbonnaya said outside of court.  “The people have spoken, and they have spoken loud and clear.”

Ogbonnaya was originally arrested in June of 2010 after two women said they had been touched inappropriately by the doctor during routine visits.

Ogbonnaya was released from jail two days later only to be re-arrested two weeks later when seven more women came forward accusing him of inappropriate behavior.

The women alleged that Ogbonnaya had fondled them and told them to “have more sex.”

“There just wasn’t enough for us to make a certain decision that would prove anything,” said Sara, a juror who declined to give her last name.

“I think there was truth to what (the victims) said, but I feel there was some media influence that congested it a little bit,” said Sara.

Defense attorneys argued that the additional victims came forward only after seeing media coverage of the case, in which specific details about the alleged crimes had been released by police.

“Victims need to voice their opinions as soon as (the crime) happens, without any hesitation and delay,” said Sara.

Last February, the Arizona Medical Board announced that it had revoked Ogbonnaya’s medical license.  3TV called the Board following Ogbonnaya’s conviction.

A spokeswoman said their decision stands, because the Medical Board looks at a different set of standards, independent of the criminal case.  She told 3TV he would be eligible to reapply for a license in five years.

“Everything that’s been lost can be restored,” Ogbonnaya said outside of court Wednesday.

3TV asked whether he’s worried that his reputation has been damaged, despite the acquittal.

“It is God who built my reputation, and he’s the one who will rebuild my life,” Ogbonnaya responded.

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Statement from juror Pamela Meade:

"As a member of the jury who found Dr Gabriel Ogbonnaya not guilty, I would like for the jury's findings to be accurately portrayed. I believe there has been some implication in the media that the jury, as a whole, believes the allegations these women made, when in fact the incredibility of the women was an overwhelming factor in reaching 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."



 

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