originally posted at:  http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/14267935p-15079484c.html
   

Surgeon is held on weapons, sex charges

By Carrie Peyton Dahlberg and Christina Jewett -- Bee Staff Writers
Published 8:27 pm PDT Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Carmichael plastic surgeon was being held on sex and weapons charges Wednesday after police found an armor-penetrating rocket launcher, machine guns and dozens of other weapons in his sprawling ranch home.

Dr. Scott Takasugi, known by neighbors for his lavish Halloween parties, dapper clothes and luxury car collection, was being investigated for sexual exploitation of patients when the cache was found.

Federal and military investigators worked until dawn Wednesday assessing and hauling out weapons. Among them were a live a shoulder-fired battlefield weapon called a "LAW Rocket," along with machine guns, guns equipped with laser sights or silencers and thousands of rounds of ammunition, said Sacramento Sheriff's Sgt. Judd Holiday.

The assortment went far beyond a recreational gun collection, said Holiday, who supervises the county's bomb squad.

"When you start keeping things that can cause death to a large number of people, that's a different story," he said. Sheriff's spokesman R.L. Davis said most officers would go an entire career without seeing such a heavy-duty military weapon.

The doctor's attorney, John Panneton, declined to discuss the collection, saying only "my client has a presumption of innocence. He intends to plead not guilty to the charges, and he vigorously will defend himself."

Holiday said he saw nothing in the house to suggest that Takasugi had plans to use the items against anyone, although the investigation is ongoing.

Takasugi, 53, was arrested on 11 sex and weapon counts, including suspicion of sexual exploitation by a physician, penetration by a foreign object, unauthorized possession of a machine gun and possession of a destructive device, said Davis. His bail was set Wednesday at $2 million.

The doctor, who practiced at the Kaiser hospital on Morse Avenue, had not seen patients for more than a month as Kaiser investigated patient complaints, said Kathleen McKenna, a spokeswoman for the health care organization.

"We have begun the process to terminate the physician and to report him to the medical board. We apologize to the patients for his inappropriate actions," she said in a prepared statement. Kaiser urged patients with questions to call a special toll free number it has established, 1-888-378-0018.

Noel Ferris, a Sacramento attorney who said she represents one of the patients who complained about Takasugi, said Kaiser had known at least since 2001 that there were issues with him.

"What happens in these settings is the guy has a white coat on, and he says he needs to do something for a medical reason. The patient has such trust in these doctors," Ferris said. "And the patient goes afterwards, 'was that weird? Was that strange?' "

Sheriff's officers urge women with complaints to contact detectives at 874-5070. "We believe that there could be more victims out there," said Davis.

Takasugi is the son of a well-known south state politician Nao Takasugi, who had served as Oxnard mayor and a Republican assemblyman representing the 37th district, including Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Camarillo, Oxnard and Port Hueneme.



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