Physician to face jury trial on abuse charges in ‘shocking’ case
A Philadelphia doctor will be forced to take a stand against sexual harassment and assault allegations when she faces a jury trial in the abuse of a female patient who was found unconscious and unable to speak after an alleged sexual assault in 2014.
The trial will begin next month in Philadelphia’s City Court and is expected to last several weeks, according to prosecutors.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Monday he intends to charge Dr. Karen Epps with a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Williams said the doctor, who has been under investigation by Philadelphia Police Department for allegedly sexual assault, abused the patient in a hotel room on Sept. 14, 2014, when the victim was asleep in a bed.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police that the doctor repeatedly groped her and repeatedly touched her breasts while she was unconscious.
The doctor’s attorney, Richard O’Brien, said in court papers that Dr. Epps was at a hotel in Philadelphia, where she was on vacation, when she was approached by a woman who said she had a boyfriend.
O’Briens attorney, Michael P. D’Amico, said his client was not in Philadelphia at the time of the alleged attack.
Prosecutors have charged Dr. Ozzie Ziegler with misdemeanor sexual assault and misdemeanor abuse of an unconscious patient, while a second doctor, Dr. Daniel Rocha, will be charged with the abuse.
The attorney for the other two doctors, who were not named in court documents, declined to comment.
The case was investigated by Philadelphia’s Office of Professional Accountability, which is investigating complaints of sexual harassment.
In a letter to a Philadelphia judge, Ziegman’s lawyer, James D. St. Clair, called the accusations against the two doctors “disgusting and shocking.”
He said they are both physicians who are practicing in Philadelphia.
The alleged assault took place in January 2014, and occurred at the hotel room of Dr. Jami Siegel, a physician who was at the same time the patient and a guest, St. Claire wrote.
The woman was unconscious and could not speak, and was placed on a bed while the doctor had sex with her, St.-Clair wrote.
She told police she awoke and saw her boyfriend and other men kissing her, and they continued to have sex with other women at the motel, St-Clair said.
She eventually went to the police and reported the alleged assault, which resulted in the arrest of two of the men and a search of the hotel.
Dr. Siegel and Dr. Danssenski, both of whom have since been fired from their medical practices, were charged with a felony charge of aggravated sexual assault.
The doctors are free on bond while the case is pending.
Prosecutors said the hospital records show Dr. Sauer has filed at least six complaints about sexual harassment over the last two decades.
They also said Dr. Ziegher was disciplined for sexual harassment in 2016, when he was a licensed physician at the hospital where the woman was examined.
A Philadelphia judge last year ruled that Drs.
Zigler and Dansski would not be able to practice in the city if the charges against them were proven.
A hearing for the doctors will be held next week.
Philadelphia prosecutors have previously said they intend to seek a jury verdict against the doctors.
A preliminary hearing for prosecutors will be set for June.