No Reprisals by Cleared Physician

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

May 16, 2004

Newburgh - Dr. Mahavir Singh basked in the glow of vindication yesterday, the day after a judge cleared him of charges that he sexually abused patients.

Singh and his family gathered at the office of his lawyer, John Ingrassia, for a news conference that was equal parts victory celebration, a time to assure his discredited accusers that he wasn't seeking vengeance or lawsuits and a time to talk about the future. The 52-year-old internal-medicine specialist dreams of opening a clinic in his native India with his daughters after they finish medical school.

Singh and Ingrassia also questioned why there wasn't closer scrutiny given to the claims of Singh's half-dozen accusers, before Orange County Court Judge Stewart Rosenwasser methodically demolished them after a three-week, non-jury trial.

Ingrassia said there were members of Singh's office staff who could have refuted the allegations, which included fondling women's breasts, an unnecessary prostate exam and touching an 8-year-old girl's rectum while allowing her to listen to her heartbeat through a stethoscope.

"No one was ever interviewed, including our client," Ingrassia said.

He said the medical records of some of Singh's patients were turned over to prosecutors under subpoena - but a doctor who was a prosecution witness testified under oath that she couldn't read Singh's handwriting.

Prosecutors never sought to transcribe the records into a readable form, Ingrassia said.

Ingrassia said that called into question the legitimacy of the judgments the expert made about Singh's conduct.

"It's more than offensive to me," Ingrassia said. "It's reprehensible."

District Attorney Frank Phillips wasn't available yesterday to respond to Ingrassia. But on Friday, after the verdict, Phillips said, "District attorneys throughout the state do have a lot of power.

"I think my colleagues attempt to exercise this power judiciously and appropriately, and I believe we exercised it appropriately in Singh's case."

After the news conference, Rekha Singh, who runs her husband's medical office, talked about how many of Singh's patients she hugged after the verdict; they had filled the courtroom.

"I could have even given a hug to Mr. Milza," she said, referring to Assistant District Attorney Michael Milza, who prosecuted the case. "He was doing his job."

But she said the family's ordeal will change some things: Children will no longer get to accompany their parents into an exam room, the way Singh's 8-year-old accuser accompanied her mother in November 2002.

"We can't make a mistake twice," Rekha Singh said.

* Reprinted with permission of The Times Herald-Record

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.