Fox Chapel doctor cleared of indecent assault of patient
August 4, 2014 11:09 PM
Raja Chakrapani, Fox Chapel physician.
By Kaitlynn Riely / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Raja Chakrapani is eager to get back to work.
The Fox Chapel doctor was acquitted Monday of charges that he inappropriately touched a female patient. Charges of indecent assault and harassment related to complaints filed by three other women had previously been either dismissed or withdrawn.
Dr. Chakrapani, 60, with his wife, Amritha, said he believed his medical license, suspended by the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine since last August, would be reinstated.
His defense attorney, Patrick Thomassey, said Dr. Chakrapani will not pursue legal action against the four women who made accusations against him.
“He just wants to get back to work,” Mr. Thomassey said.
Dr. Chakrapani, a primary care physician whose private practice includes offices in White Oak, Swissvale, Turtle Creek and West Mifflin, was charged in July 2013 with inappropriately touching two women after the women said the doctor rubbed against their bodies while they were on the exam table and touched them inappropriately multiple times. Two more women later came forward to press similar charges.
At a preliminary hearing last fall, however, charges involving two of the women were dismissed or withdrawn. Charges involving a third woman were dismissed in April.
A non-jury trial to hear the remaining charges of indecent assault and harassment involving a female patient was held Monday before Alleghney County Common Pleas Judge Philip A. Ignelzi.
The former patient — a woman who testified in October that she saw Dr. Chakrapani for five months in 2012 to manage pain from a neck injury — was subpoenaed to testify. But she did not wish to, according to Kevin Chernosky, the assistant district attorney. Mr. Thomassey said a cross-examination of the woman would involve questions about the circumstances surrounding her dismissal from Dr. Chakrapani’s program for patients with addiction issues.
Because her testimony could bring up Fifth Amendment issues, Judge Ignelzi ruled that the woman, who sat briefly on the witness stand, crying, would not have to testify.
Mr. Chernosky said the commonwealth could not meet its burden of proof if the former patient did not testify, and Judge Ignelzi ruled for acquittal.
The woman who did not testify filed a civil suit seeking damages in September. A woman who answered the phone at the office of Grey Douglas Pratt, the attorney representing the former patient, said he would decline to comment.
After his acquittal, Dr. Chakrapani said the patients who made the accusations against him had been terminated from his practice’s drug addiction program. He said they wanted to put him out of business.
“They just wanted to ruin his career,” his wife said.
He intends to return to practicing medicine. According to the October 2013 consent agreement between Dr. Chakrapani and Pennsylvania’s Board of Medicine, he must first receive a mental and physical examination, then must petition the board to reinstate his license, providing a current criminal history record and a signed verification that he has not practiced medicine on a suspended license. A formal board hearing will be held.
Kaitlynn Riely: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1707. First Published August 4, 2014 12:00 AM
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