The lawyer for a Glastonbury doctor charged last week with sexually assaulting three female patients is objecting to prosecutors' fight to keep court documents in the case sealed from public view .
Middlesex State's Attorney Peter McShane filed a motion Monday seeking to extend the seal on an arrest warrant affidavit, which contains information that led police in Clinton to arrest Dr. Tory Z. Westbrook, 43, and charge him with multiple counts of sexual assault.
But Westbrook's lawyer, Norman A. Pattis, fired back in his own motion Tuesday, saying the public interest "is not served by cloaking the identities and the facts and circumstances" of his client's case.
Westbrook is accused of assaulting the women at the Community Health Center in Clinton during medical appointments from 2010 through January 2012, Clinton police said.
Police Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn has said police are investigating similar complaints about Westbrook from other patients, but law enforcement officials have released few details about the alleged assaults and other information about their investigation. Prosecutors have also released few details about the case publicly.
Pattis said he agrees that the allegations are "sensitive," but that "accusers are entitled to no special solicitude when they are transformed into state's witnesses. As a matter of law, Dr. Westbrook is presumed innocent. Mock solicitude for those claiming to be victims gives them a privileged status Dr. Westbrook does not enjoy. His reputation is in ruins. The world has been invited to regard him as a serial rapist."
Pattis said the warrants "reflect subjective complaints from three female patients" who felt the exams "were either unusual or overly intrusive" and there is no claim that Westbrook "exposed himself, was sexually titillated or aroused, or even that he engaged in conduct unrelated to his physical examination of the patients."
Pattis said there is no justification for sealing on the grounds of a continuing investigation. He said the "only continuing investigation potentially placed in jeopardy by publication of these details pertains to new and as yet undisclosed alleged complainants who either have, or might, come forward. The state's fear in this instance is that a new accuser might read the court file, and then surface with a claim sounding suspiciously like the claims made thus far."
Pattis said at last week's bond hearing he consented to the continued sealing of the warrants, which he had not had an opportunity to read or to discuss with Westbrook. After reading them, he said he now objects to the further sealing, writing, "While Dr. Westbrook has been held out to the world as sexual predator; his accusers enjoy the sanctified cloak of confidentiality and protection merely because they claim discomfort during physical exams."
Pattis added, "What would be the harm in permitting the public to know the names of the women who have come forward? It will be too late at trial to learn who has abused narcotics, who has previously threatened to sue a doctor, who has developed a reputation for dishonesty so profound as to cast doubt on these claims."
Last August, Gov.Dannel P. Malloyappointed Westbrook to the Sustinet HealthCare Cabinet for a term of four years. Westbrook, who is married to a Superior Court judge, also served on the state Commission for Health Care Equity.
Westbrook left the Clinton family practice in February to serve as medical director of the Charter Oak Health Center in Hartford. When the center hired a permanent director in late March, Westbrook became the center's chief of internal medicine. Since his arrest, he has been placed on administrative leave.
Westbrook is free after posting $450,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning when Judge Susan B. Handy has scheduled a hearing on the sealing motions.