A longtime Chicago-area gynecologist accused of sexually assaulting a pregnant patient took the stand Wednesday to testify that the sex was consensual and he lied about the incident to protect his career and marriage, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Bruce Sylvester Smith was charged with criminal sexual assault in May 2010 after several reports of sexual misconduct with his patients, as far back as August 2002. The former doctor was allowed to keep his gynecology practice for years when the state’s attorney’s office declined to press charges after the initial complaint in March 2003.
The Tribune reports:
“Testifying in a calm, low voice Wednesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Smith, 60, said he was performing a pelvic exam on the alleged victim at Chicago’s Kennedy Medical Service Corp. in August 2002 when she grabbed his hand under the sheet and forced him into a sexual act.
Smith said no words were exchanged but that the patient was looking at him and ‘moaning.’
‘At that point I dropped my pants’ and had consensual intercourse with her, Smith told jurors in Judge Clayton Crane’s courtroom.
On cross-examination, Assistant State’s Attorney Annette Milleville ridiculed Smith’s account, asking repeatedly why he didn’t say anything or put a stop to it if the patient had initiated the contact.
‘I was curious,’ Smith said.
State disciplinary records show that immediately after leaving Smith’s office, the woman called her sister, who contacted a rape hot line, the Tribune reported in 2010 as part of a series on lax regulatory procedures for doctors accused of abusing patients. At a counselor’s urging, the woman underwent a rape exam at the University of Chicago Hospitals and filed a complaint with Chicago police days later.”
The alleged victim also testified during the administrative proceedings, stating that she was “afraid when she realized” what he was doing. “He’s a doctor and he’s down there with m baby,” she told authorities in 2008.
Years ago, Smith said he lied to a detective and prosecutor about the incident in fear of ruining his personal and professional lives. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation suspended his license seven years later after at least four additional women accused him of sexual misconduct.
If convicted, Smith could face up to 15 years in prison.