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Doctor sent to jail for touching patients inappropriately

| Thursday, May 24, 2012, 11:44 a.m.
Thomas Tyma, 55, of Franklin Park was convicted in March of 17 counts each of indecent assault and summary harassment. Now the Sewickley doctor has been sentenced to 60 days in jail and one year of house arrest for his conviction on touching patients inappropriately.
Thomas Tyma, 55, of Franklin Park was convicted in March of 17 counts each of indecent assault and summary harassment. Now the Sewickley doctor has been sentenced to 60 days in jail and one year of house arrest for his conviction on touching patients inappropriately.

An Allegheny County judge sentenced a Franklin Park doctor today to 60 days in jail and one year of house arrest for his conviction on touching patients inappropriately.

Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel imposed the sentence on Thomas Tyma, 55. The judge convicted him in March of 17 counts each of indecent assault and summary harassment after a bench trial. The sentence also includes six years of probation.

Tyma's attorney, William Difenderfer, said he was considering an appeal. Difenderfer did not represent Tyma at trial.

"We're very pleased with sentencing in light of the charges he was convicted of," Difenderfer said. "He's still asserting his innocence and we're looking at all the options."

Difenderfer said Tyma's medical license is suspended and as long as the conviction stands he won't get it back.

Seventeen women told investigators Tyma, a rheumatologist, touched them inappropriately during arthritis-related appointments, prosecutors said. Several victims told McDaniel that their incident with Tyma affected them emotionally.

One 49-year-old victim from Lawrence County said she didn't come forward until a year after the incident when she saw other women come forward.

"In the society we live in, we often treat physicians as if they're gods," the woman said. "I'm glad he got what he got."

"I felt I would be believed when the other women came forward."

A 59-year-old victim from the North Hills said since her incident with Tyma she doesn't like going to the doctor.

"The first thing I tell a doctor is please don't touch me," she said after the hearing. "I was very satisfied with the jail sentence but I think he should have gotten more."

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