Thursday, May 29, 2008
Chicago foot doctor convicted of sexual abuse in bench trial
(Original Story 3-29-08)
A prominent South Side (of Chicago) foot doctor, Dr. Anthony Overton, is facing trial in a sexual abuse case involving inappropriate touching of female patients before foot surgeries. Thursday's testimony involved a 52 year old woman not involved in the charging complaint, but who testified the doctor molested her in connection with bunion surgery many times in 2005, culminating when Overton asked her to drop her pants to her knees during a post operation checkup.
Overton is charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault and a count of criminal sexual abuse of a 76 year old woman. He is currently undergoing a bench trial (without a jury) in the courtroom of Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin.
The charges stem from the alleged sexual assault of the 76-year-old, but others came forward and were allowed to testify at the trial, said Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office.
The woman who testified Thursday said she heard about the allegations on the radio while she was at work and decided to tell authorities.She alleged that the abuse began in August 2005 when she went to Overton's office for an initial visit before bunions were to be removed from her feet.Even though she told the podiatrist that she had a pre-surgical examination with her primary-care physician, Overton insisted on doing another physical, she testified. He touched her inappropriately, she said.
On the day of her surgery at Jackson Park Hospital, Overton walked over to her in the surgical waiting area, pulled the curtain around the bed, checked her heart rate and then inappropriately touched her, the woman testified."I was shocked," the woman said.
"He checked my feet and had me pull my pants down to my knees," the woman said.
Overton against asked the woman to drop her pants, and in this incident in December 2005, she finally confronted him.
"I asked him, 'What does that have to do with my feet?' " the woman said. "He said, 'You can have a nurse in here the next time.' "
Bill Hooks, Overton's defense attorney, cross examined the victim and got her to admit that she never took her complaints to authorities, either regulatory or law enforcement, and got her to acknowledged that she checked a form citing excessive bleeding. The defense attorney implied that Overton's touching was to check for bleeding.
(Update 4-3-08) Overton's ruling will be declared on April 21. Prosecutors in closing arguments Wednedsay April 2 said that Overton had no legitimate reason to give anthing other than foot exams to patients.
Isn't this just common sense?" said Asst. State's Atty. Cheryl Galvin. "Does it make any sense to go to a proctologist to have your teeth cleaned?"Overton, 64, of Olympia Fields is on trial in Cook County Criminal Court for allegedly fondling an elderly woman and giving her a vaginal and rectal examination. The woman had sought treatment for a sprained ankle in 2006. She was 75 at the time.
Overton has said he frequently gave full-body physicals to patients to diagnose other problems that may affect his patients' feet. He said it was sometimes necessary to conduct breast, vaginal and rectal exams to check for other ailments.
(Update 4-21-08) Overton was convicted of two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault following the bench trial (trial by a judge alone) by Circuit Judge Michael P. Toomin. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years in prison.
Aggravated criminal sexual assault is a felony punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison per count in Illinois, and if a sex offender is convicted on more than one count, the counts must be served consecutively. Unlike most crimes, where 50% remission is granted, if someone sentenced to prison for aggravated criminal sexual assault is on their best behavior, they can only get 15% remission. Assuming Overton is sentenced to the minimum 12 years, he'll serve at least 10.2 years.
(Update 5-29-08) Overton was sentenced to 6 years in prison, meaning that the minimum sentence will be 5.1 years, assuming good behavior. Speaking of which, Judge Toomin cited Overton's formerly impeccable behavior in the community as the reason that he had the sentences run concurrently, not consecutively.
In explaining his leniency, Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin said in his 28 years as a judge he had never seen a defendant with a more impeccable background. He noted that Overton, a doctor with four advanced degrees, had never been charged with a crime previously. He added that he had received dozens of letters in support of the podiatrist.
Prosecutors were miffed and Judge Toomin expects an appeal.
"I would have liked to have seen a bigger sentence. The mandatory minimum is 12 years," Assistant States Attorney Cheryl Galvin said.
Posted by Brian at 8:27 PM
Labels: 60's perp, 70's victim, betrayal of trust, doctors, guilty by bench trial, IL, male-fem, offense