Prosecutors often offer plea deals to reduce their frequently heavy caseloads. The deals can benefit defendants because they reduce the level or length of punishment, and for some defendants, accepting a plea deal may be appropriate. Last week, a Mesa, Arizona cardiologist accepted a plea agreement in a sex crimes case. In exchange for his guilty plea to 18 aggravated assault charges, the man avoided having his name placed on the sex offender registry.
In the court records, 19 of his female patients say that the doctor engaged in various forms of sexual abuse. Most complaints alleged inappropriate touching of his patients' breasts, while other women also stated that he performed examinations of regions below their waistlines.
Of course, a guilty plea does not come without some consequences. The doctor will have a felony conviction on his record and will be precluded from taking up the practice of medicine again. But he did avoid being listed as a registered sex offender, which is a significant benefit for any defendant accused of a sex crime. The amount of jail time the doctor will have to serve on the charges is still undetermined, but it is possible he would not have to spend further time in jail.
Although the doctor managed to avoid being placed on the sex offender registry, people placed on the registry should expect it to significantly change their life regardless of the sex crime they are accused of committing. After being accused of and charged with a sex crime, it is important to explore all available avenues to prevent the life-altering act of being placed on the sex offender registry.
Source: KPHO.com, "AZ doctor avoids sex offender list with plea deal," Allyson Blair, June 6, 2012.