This has been a bad week for dentists of the Commonwealth already…and it’s only Wednesday!
Let’s start with a Worcester dentist arrested Monday after allegedly indecently assaulting an adult patient.
According to law enforcement, police responded at around 11:00 am to a report of a woman claiming to have been indecently assaulted. The 35-year-old female complainant reported that during her 9 a.m. appointment with her long-term dentist, Dr. Nikilkumar (Nikhil) Patel, 54, he touched her inappropriately on several occasions.
The woman said that she immediately got up from the dentist chair and left the office, police said. The sexual assault unit was sent to meet with the woman and, after that meeting, went to the office of Dr. Patel.
After the brief meeting, they took him into custody.
According to Boston.com, Dr. Patel was charged with indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14.
He was arraigned yesterday at Worcester District Court.
MassLive updates us that at the arraignment, Dr. Patel was released on $1,000 cash bail.
This was a victory for the defense as the Commonwealth was seeking higher bail as well as GPS monitoring. The Commonwealth’s primary argument for this was that the complainant was very afraid of the defendant, although the defendant had no history of violence.
Unfortunately, the best way for the Commonwealth and the complainant to address such concerns would not be for higher bail (bail being for the purpose of ensuring the defendant’s return to court). It would be for either a restraining order or even a Dangerousness Hearing. For some reason, probably strategic, the Commonwealth did not go that route.
Outside of the courtroom, Dr. Patel’s defense attorney, the noted Hector Piniero, told the media that his client denies any wrongdoing. He also explained that there are various issues which preclude him from saying much more given the various confidentiality considerations.
“He is saddened by the allegations this patient made. He’s going to vigorously defend himself,” Piniero said. “Very surprising, these charges.”
Closer to home, in Cambridge, Boston.com tells us of a local dentist who was just arraigned for a different type of crime.
This one involves drugs.
On Monday, Dr. Maurice Zylber, 70, of Brookline was arraigned, accused of using his employees to fraudulently acquire medications for more than a decade. He has, of course, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Dr. Zylber faces seven counts of obtaining a drug by fraud. He was released from Cambridge District Court after his arraignment
Quothe the Middlesex District Attorney, Marian Ryan, “At a time when the opioid crisis continues to escalate, the defendant in this case allegedly used his ability as a dentist to prescribe pain killers for his own personal use… This type of alleged behavior by a healthcare professional highlights the challenges that law enforcement encounters when working to prevent opioid abuse.”
By way of history, law enforcement claims that one of Dr. Zylber’s former employees came to police in December, alleging that the dentist had written roughly 10 fraudulent prescriptions per year for her to fill. After she picked up the medications, she would bring them back to the good dentist, who reimbursed her co-pay, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The woman apparently claims that she complied for 15 years, fearing that she would lose her job if she refused. She said that she finally did lose her job when she did refuse…albeit years later. Further investigation is said to have revealed that that another former employee had filled prescriptions as part of the scheme prior to being fired, authorities said.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Hidden Issues In High Profile Criminal Matters
“Sam…these are two different types of cases. Why did you join them together? Just because both defendants are dentists?”
In a way, yes. However, if you look between the liness, you will see that the fact that these defendants are both professionals with assumable no prior criminal record, you will see that the cases are more alike than you might have thought.
“How am I going to read between those lines?”
Well, we will be painting, with words, those lines for you in my next posting…hopefully tomorrow.