October 24, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
36°F
test

Judge to rule in doc’s groping case

ELYRIA — Dr. Somnath Roy was portrayed during closing arguments in his trial Thursday as a man who grossly abused his status as a doctor to sexually assault six women over the course of several years.

Assistant County Prosecutor Laura Dezort termed Roy’s actions at one point as “sick and twisted.”

“He cloaked his behavior in a white doctor’s coat,” Dezort said. “He was opportunistic and manipulative and chose these women carefully.”

Attorney Kenneth Lieux, who is representing Roy, 47, of Avon, sought to cast doubts on the credibility of the women, alleging sexual wrongdoing by the family practice-internal medicine physician, saying their accounts were either vague, inconsistent or were not reported for some time to police or others.

Roy is charged with six counts of gross sexual imposition, two counts of sexual imposition and one count of abduction.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Making their closing arguments before Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski, who is deciding the case without a jury, Dezort argued that Roy followed a pattern of choosing “young, thin, attractive” women for meetings in which he allegedly fondled their breasts.

Lieux maintained the issue of Roy touching the women’s breasts was not in dispute.

“But it was not done for sexual purposes,” he said.

And he argued none of the women were coerced or forced during the alleged sexual assaults at Roy’s offices in Elyria’s Gates Medical Building.

Four of the alleged victims are former patients of Roy’s, whose accounts were similar to those of a 19-year-old who sought a job with Roy as a medical secretary and a 24-year-old who worked for him for two days before quitting over an alleged sexual encounter in his offices.

Some of the incidents for which Roy is on trial date to 2004.

The youngest alleged victim was a 15-year-old girl who came to Roy suffering from mononucleosis, and was subsequently fondled during three separate examinations in 2006, including once while the teen was hospitalized, according to Dezort.

Lieux argued the mother of the 15-year-old was present during at least one of the incidents, and she never reported anything improper.

“And she (the teen) went back to Dr. Roy for followup care,” Lieux said.

“I don’t think she would go back if he sexually abused her.”

While acknowledging that Roy “treated some patients really well,” Dezort said “those six women saw the dark side … a criminally dark side.”

The 19-year-old woman accused Roy of fondling her breasts and keeping her from leaving his offices during an after-hours job interview for a position as a medical secretary.

“A simple job interview turned into an exploration of her sex life and examination of her breasts that lasted for more than two hours,” said Dezort.

Roy asked the woman about her sexual experience, and suggested she wear a padded bra as “big boobs make you look older,” because patients had questioned whether the small-breasted female was too young to work in the office, Dezort said.

Afterward, Roy took the woman into a hallway for an eye exam, during which he is accused of hugging her and kissing her neck, and preventing her from leaving the office.

“There was no hug or kiss,” Lieux said. “It didn’t happen that way. It was all perfectly legitimate. She was free to come and go at any time.”

The 19-year-old and 24-year-old have each filed civil lawsuits against Roy.

“Doctors are easy marks,” Lieux said. “Everyone thinks they’re rich.”

Following 2½ hours of closing arguments, Betleski told both sides he was “cautiously optimistic” about issuing a written ruling by this afternoon.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.