Beaver County doctor acquitted of indecent assault charges

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A jury Tuesday afternoon acquitted a Beaver County doctor on all counts in his trial on charges of indecent assault.

Robert Knapp, 58, an internist and endocrinologist who lives in Brighton and practices in Bridgewater, had been accused of improperly touching eight female patients between 2007 and 2009.

During the trial, which started Oct. 8, the women said the doctor touched them inappropriately during chiropractic back treatments in his office. Prosecutors also brought in experts who said his technique of manipulating their backs while straddling them from behind on an examination table was not standard practice.

But Dr. Knapp said the technique is legitimate and demonstrated it on an exam table in the courtroom. He explained that he learned the treatment in France in the 1970s and had used it many times over the years. A defense expert also said it was legitimate.

In addition, Stephen Colafella, Dr. Knapp's lawyer, argued to the jury that the motivation of the women was money, since two of them have pending suits against Dr. Knapp and two others are "actively pursuing" civil cases against the doctor.

He said the other issue that the jury may have considered was the fact that many of the women contacted Bridgewater police within days of media accounts of the first woman's complaint, which was filed on Oct. 1, 2009.

Dr. Knapp voluntarily surrendered his medical license pending the outcome of the case. Mr. Colafella said he didn't know the status of the doctor's attempts to be reinstated.


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