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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A Springville fertility doctor accused of inappropriately touching patients will keep his name off the state's sex offender registry and could be allowed to keep his medical license, under a plea agreement.
Larry Andrew entered his plea in 4th District Court in Provo on Friday. Instead of facing 19 counts of forcible sexual abuse, he pleaded no contest to eight counts of sexual battery, class A misdemeanors.
Each sexual battery charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Each count of forcible sexual abuse is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Judge Samuel McVey set Andrew's sentencing hearing for Nov. 6.
To convict Andrew of forcible sexual abuse, the prosecution would have had to prove that he touched patients' genitals for sexual gratification. For sexual battery, prosecutors needed only to show that he touched them in a way that he knew or should have known was likely to cause affront or alarm.
"There was no sexual gratification. It was an inappropriate touch that was likely to cause alarm," said Kenneth Brown, Andrew's attorney. "That's a much different crime than forcible sexual abuse."
The Utah County Attorney's Office filed sex abuse charges against Andrew in March 2006 after several patients accused him of massaging their genitals during fertility treatments, which he said was done to relieve pain. He was also accused of having an employee perform prostate exams on him. According to a news release from the Springville Police Department in March 2006, the alleged incidents occurred between 2002 and 2005.
Prosecutor Dave Sturgill said he accepted the deal because there was a chance a jury would acquit on the felony charges.
"It's a compromise," he said. "Do I think he committed forcible sex abuses? Absolutely. ... The problem is it doesn't matter what I believe. It matters what I can prove."
Information from: The Daily Herald
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)