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Grand jury to see IDs, records in abuse case June 2, 2007

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Supreme Court – An anesthesiologist is accused of sexually abusing sedated women in a Portland office

The state Supreme Court told a Portland oral surgeon Friday to hand over medical records of two female patients to a Multnomah County grand jury that will decide whether to charge an anesthesiologist with sexually abusing the women after sedating them.

The oral surgeon, Jay P. Malmquist, had refused for more than a year to identify the two patients to a grand jury for fear that the women would refuse to seek further treatment if they knew that anesthesiologist David O. Burleson had touched them inappropriately.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Ronald Cinniger had agreed with Malmquist and shielded him from providing the patients’ names. Cinniger said the risk to the patients outweighed the grand jury’s need for their names, and the district attorney could seek Burleson’s indictment without the names.

In February, the district attorney asked the Supreme Court to review Cinniger’s ruling, and in a unanimous decision issued Friday, the high court decided that the names were necessary to the investigation.

The ruling, written by Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz, said: “As a matter of diligence, the prosecutor must identify victims and interview them about facts likely to lead to the production of admissible evidence. The identity of victims of crime is the most basic kind of evidence given at trial.”

Malmquist’s lawyer, Marc Blackman, said Friday, “We will certainly comply with the decision.”

Deputy District Attorney Christine Mascal has said she needs to talk with the patients to learn what they remember about their experience with Burleson. The patients’ recollections could determine the severity of the charge that a grand jury might return.

A person can be charged with third-degree sex abuse, a misdemeanor, if the victim simply does not consent to the sexual contact. But if the victim is in a “physically helpless” condition, the charge is first-degree sexual abuse, a Measure 11 crime that carries a penalty upon conviction of more than six years in prison.




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