MIDDLETOWN — Dr. Tory Westbrook, convicted last year of sexually assaulting five women who were his patients, pleaded no contest Friday to the remaining charges against him.
Westbrook, 45, has been jailed since Nov. 15, when a Superior Court jury found him guilty of four felony counts of second-degree sexual assault and four misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.
He was facing trial on 13 other charges until his plea on Friday.
He pleaded no contest to nine counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of second-degree sexual assault and a single count of second-degree larceny. The larceny count is related to Medicaid fraud.
Westbrook now stands convicted of 21 crimes. The sexual assaults involve 18 women who were patients at Community Health Center in Clinton or clients at his laser hair removal clinic in Manchester. The assaults happened from 2010 to 2012.
The sentencing for all cases is scheduled for Sept. 19. Under an agreement with the state, Westbrook's sentence will be suspended after he spends 14 years in prison. He will surrender his license to practice medicine, and will register as a sex offender upon his release, Judge David P. Gold said.
Westbrook pleaded to so many charges that Friday's hearing took close to three hours. About a dozen family and friends of Westbrook attended, as did about 10 victims and their supporters.
Gold allowed Westbrook to sit throughout the pleas, which Westbrook's lawyer, Norman Pattis, submitted on paper. With no-contest pleas, the defendant neither admits nor denies the crime; when the judge accepts the plea — as Gold did Friday — the defendant is found guilty.
When it came time for the plea for a sexual assault that happened in August 2011, a woman in the audience began crying softly.
After the pleas, Middlesex State's Attorney Peter McShane summarized each crime. One by one, he described women going to the doctor and being subject to supposed breast exams that felt like none they ever had.
"It felt like he was copping a feel," one woman said, according to McShane.
Westbrook performed oral sex on another woman during laser hair removal, the prosecutor said.
The larceny conviction stems from his submission of false documentation to get more than $900 in Medicaid payments.
One condition of the agreement with the state is that Westbrook not appeal his convictions.
That's unfortunate, Pattis said outside the courtroom, because "I think it was an unfair trial."
The defense attorney had earlier listed his problems with the trial, including the decision to consolidate the cases. Pattis also protested what he said was the state's use of the rape shield statute "as a sword instead of a shield." The law is meant to keep defense attorneys from telling a jury about a complainant's sexual history.
In closing arguments at the trial, McShane told the jury that Westbrook targeted women he thought were weak and vulnerable.
Pattis told jurors that Westbrook's conduct was medically appropriate but that he failed to properly communicate what he was doing. He also accused the women of colluding with civil attorneys to sue Westbrook.
Westbrook's medical license has been suspended and more than a dozen lawsuits are pending against him.
One woman told Clinton police that Westbrook examined her breasts during a visit for a sinus infection. The woman told police that every time she went to see Westbrook he examined her breasts, according to an arrest warrant.
On another visit for a stomach ailment, Westbrook allegedly examined her genital area and did not wear gloves. The woman told police "the pelvic exam was not like any pelvic exam she ever had" with her gynecologist, according to the warrant.
In the Manchester cases, two women told police Westbrook touched them inappropriately during an appointment for laser hair removal, according to arrest warrants.
A 42-year-old woman told Manchester Det. Max Cohen that she went to Westbrook at the Manchester spa to have hair removed from under her arms. The woman removed her shirt for the treatment but left her bra on, she told police. Westbrook, however, kept asking her to remove her bra, she told police, according to the warrant. At a second visit, he again asked her to remove her bra and also offered a free hair removal treatment to her bikini area, the warrant says.
On her third visit, he again asked her to remove her bra, and she again refused, she told police. Westbrook offered a full treatment of her bikini area, and she accepted but then asked him to stop when he told her he had to reach more intimate areas, according to the warrant.
On her final visit, she told police, Westbrook again removed hair from her underarms and bikini area. The woman said she had her eyes closed during the procedures but opened them during the final visit because "I felt something different." She looked down and saw Westbrook performing a sexual act on her, according to the warrant. He had also exposed himself, she told police.
In the theft case, the Medicaid fraud bureau in the chief state's attorney's office accused Westbrook of billing Medicaid for office visits during which he allegedly sexually assaulted patients.Copyright © 2015, CT Now