Dr. Tory Westbrook

Dr. Tory Z. Westbrook (left) leaves Middletown Superior Court with his attorney, Norman Pattis, in July 2012. (Cloe Poisson / Hartford Courant / July 30, 2012)

MIDDLETOWN — The jury in the case against Dr. Tory Westbrook, accused of assaulting women during office exams, got a glimpse of a defense strategy Thursday when another doctor testified about the circumstances under which she would do a full-body skin evaluation.

Dr. Diane Hoss, a dermatopathologist in Danbury, testified on the fourth day of Westbrook's trial in Superior Court. She was the first witness to testify for the defense. The state hasn't finished presenting its case, but some witnesses have been testifying out of order because of scheduling problems.

Westbrook, 45, of Glastonbury is charged with five counts of second-degree sexual assault and four counts of fourth-degree sexual assault. His five accusers in those cases were patients at the Community Health Center in Clinton; he faces 14 other cases as well.

The first two accusers to testify said Westbrook gave them unusual breast and pelvic exams that made them feel violated. One of them, a former patient who testified Tuesday and Wednesday, said Westbrook caressed her in a loving way during her exam, including rubbing her back when he was checking for skin cancer.

Hoss testified because two of the five accusers had rashes. She said that if a patient has a rash on one part of his or her body, she would check other parts of the person's body where rashes tend to develop.

For example, defense attorney Norman Pattis asked, if the patient has psoriasis, a skin disease, "would it be appropriate in that instance for a physician to check for it on the breast?"

"Yes," Hoss said.

He also asked about the upper thigh, the small of the back and other places, to which Hoss also answered yes. Rashes tend to develop in places where the skin is moist, she said.

Pattis instructed her to demonstrate a full-body skin exam, using him as a model, prompting Judge David Gold to say, "Mr. Pattis, out of respect, you don't have to show the jury."

The judge said the doctor may describe such an exam instead.

Pattis was trying to suggest that the wide-ranging places where Westbrook allegedly touched his patients was appropriate.

Under cross -examination, Hoss said she did "maybe five" full-body skin exams in the past year. She is not a board-certified family physician, she testified, and she spent the past four years, in the words of prosecutor Brenda Hans, "basically … looking under a microscope."

Hans and Middlesex State's Attorney Peter McShane will resume presenting the state's case on Friday morning, after which a third accuser will testify.