Judge acquits Fox Chapel doctor of inappropriate touching
A Fox Chapel physician who deals with drug-addicted patients was cleared on Monday of charges that he sexually assaulted a patient at his White Oak office.
Dr. Raja Chakrapani, 60, was acquitted by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Philip A. Ignelzi after his accuser told prosecutors she did not wish to testify against him.
“The court is not going to require her to testify at this time,” Ignelzi told Assistant District Attorney Kevin A. Chernosky.
However, the 36-year-old woman may testify against Chakrapani in another courtroom. She filed a civil suit last year, shortly after criminal charges were filed in four cases against the doctor.
Ignelzi said the woman might violate her Fifth Amendment rights by testifying.
Chernosky said he didn't know if she had obtained drugs illegally, while defense attorney Patrick Thomassey of Monroeville said the woman had obtained drugs from another physician.
Thomassey said he was not implying that the woman had obtained drugs illegally.
Thomassey moved for acquittal and Ignelzi granted it.
“He just wants to get back to work,” Thomassey said of his client after the trial. “He doesn't harbor any ill feeling.”
How soon Chakrapani returns to work depends on when state officials lift the suspension of his license to practice medicine.
“He's been off work for nine or 10 months now,” Thomassey said.
The verdict came at the end of a very brief nonjury trial, held once Chakrapani waived his right to have the case of alleged indecent assault and harassment go before a jury.
The woman was the last of four patients who accused Chakrapani of indecent assault and harassment.
Two were patients in White Oak, a third in West Mifflin and a fourth in Swissvale. Chakrapani had clinics in all those locations as well as at UPMC Mercy in Pittsburgh.
“These are all patients who were terminated from the practice,” Chakrapani told reporters, referring to his providing Suboxone to patients seeking to end opiate addictions.
In each case two second-degree misdemeanor counts of indecent assault were filed along with a summary count of harassment.
Thomassey said one woman's case was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired. Two other cases were dismissed by Magisterial District Judge Thomas G. Miller Jr. in White Oak.
“They just wanted to ruin his career,” Chakrapani's wife Amritha said. She had been at his side at hearings in White Oak and during a wait of more than two hours on Monday morning for trial to begin.
Chakrapani said he never had been contacted by county or local police prior to his arrest last year.
“If they had come to me, I could have told them what happened,” Chakrapani said.
In September the woman filed her civil suit against Chakrapani, but no action has been taken since then. Through a staffer at his office in Pleasant Hills, the woman's attorney, Grey D. Pratt, declined comment.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
- Graham rejects GOP Benghazi report as ‘garbage’
- Pitt notebook: Chryst keeps Panthers motivated amid adversity
- Power out for 20 customers after West Deer crash
- Pirates trade Davis to A’s for international signing bonus money
- Pirates enter Plan B with Martin off market
- NFL notebook: Vikings coach thinks Peterson will return to team once reinstated
- 2 residents, kitten rescued from Highland Park fire
- Hanna’s Town celebrates ‘Three Centuries of Coffee and Chocolate’
- 100 terrorists killed in Kenya retaliation act
- Penn State notebook: Franklin shrugs off special-teams miscues