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Kaiser Permanente Doctor's sex crimes trial begins
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
SAN JOSE - Both sides presented their opening arguments to a jury this morning during the first day of the trial of Dr. Raul Ixtlahuac - Gilroy's Kaiser Permanente physician charged with allegedly sexually assaulting six patients during vaginal examinations.
If convicted Ixtlahuac (IXHT-la-wahk), 40, could face up to eight years in jail for four counts of alleged felony penetration with a foreign object and two counts of alleged sexual battery. He has plead not guilty to all charges.
�This case will boil down to one thing,� Deputy District Attorney Charles Gillingham said this morning during his opening arguments at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, �a violation of trust.�
Throughout the trial, four South County women between the ages of 25 and 40 will testify that Ixtlahuac performed sexual intercourse on them during routine examinations at the Kaiser facility at 7520 Arroyo Circle, Gillingham said. Two other women will testify that he used his fingers to stimulate their vagina while their legs were in stirrups and a sheet was draped between them and the doctor.
�Dr. Ixtlahuac has never sexually abused any patient,� said Doron Weinberg, Ixtlahuac�s attorney. �He worked at the Kaiser facility in Gilroy for 12 years, administering thousands of gynecological examinations to hundreds of women, and until Sept. 24, 2000, the only complaint against him is that he was sometimes late for appointments - this is because he cared so much about his patients he spent the necessary time with them.�
Ixtlahuac was arrested in May 2001 for the alleged assaults that the victims claim took place between Sept. 22, 2000, and May 2001. He has since been free on a $250,000 bond and placed on unpaid administrative leave from Kaiser.
His medical license also has been suspended pending the outcome of the trial.
This morning Ixtlahuac, dressed in a suit and tie, showed little emotion when he appeared in Superior Court Judge James Emerson�s courtroom before a jury of seven women and eight men from throughout the county. Ixtlahuac�s wife sat behind him during the opening arguments, and they conversed during recesses.
Each defendant in the case also has filed a civil lawsuit against Ixtlahuac and several have done the same against Kaiser. Civil matters will be taken up when the criminal case concludes.
There is no strength in (the alleged victims�) numbers,� Weinberg said. Each brings their own agenda and flawed accusations.�
The doctor lives in Salinas and received his medical degree from the University of Washington.