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US doctor guilty of raping female patients

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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 17 (AFP) - A gynecologist who raped and fondled dozens of patients faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing hearing in about six weeks, prosecutors said Thursday.

Charles Momah, 49, wiped his eyes as the seven-woman, five-man jury in King County Superior Court in Seattle in the Pacific north state of Washington declared him guilty on Wednesday.

"We're happy," prosecutor Roger Rogoff told AFP of himself and his fellow prosecutor, Scott Fogg. "We are tired. We are done."

"There was so much information and so many complaints that it took a lot of time and energy to cull out what was truly criminal from what was really bad doctoring and really bad bedside manner," he said.

Four women testified to being sexually assaulted by Momah during visits to the doctor. Three other patients testified about similar conduct in incidents that were not criminally charged, according to Rogoff.

The outcome of the trial had been awaited by dozens of women suing Momah in civil court on the grounds he took sexual advantage of them during appointments or performed shoddy surgery.

Prosecutors looked into complaints that Momah's twin brother impersonated his sibling and abused patients but found no evidence to support the claims, Rogoff said.

"We have investigated the facts presented to us by the 50-some women who complained to the police department and we determined there was evidence to proceed on Charles Momah and Charles Momah only," Rogoff said.

Momah and his attorney reportedly contended at trial that two of the supposed victims had consensual sex with Momah, and that the other two were lying to get money out of the doctor.

Momah's license to practice medicine was suspended in 2003 after the accusations came to light. He also faces charges of health care fraud and that trial will start early next year.

Momah remained in jail pending his sentencing hearing, which will take place in approximately six weeks, Rogoff said.



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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