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Nurse: No Billing Records For Four Of Dr. Westbrook's Accusers

By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY, cdempsey@courant.com

The Hartford Courant

9:52 PM EDT, November 1, 2013

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MIDDLETOWN — There are no billing records to show that Dr. Tory Westbrook did breast or pelvic exams on four former patients on the days they claim he sexually assaulted them by touching them in one of more of those areas, his former company's head nurse testified on Friday.

Bernadette Thomas, chief nursing officer at the Middletown office of the Community Health Center, testified that there are such records for one of the accusers who testified this week about alleged assaults, however.

Friday was the fifth day of testimony in the trial of Westbrook, 45, in Superior Court. He faces five counts of second-degree sexual assault and four counts of fourth-degree sexual assault. The charges stem from the allegations of five women, all of whom saw Westbrook at the Community Health Center in Clinton. Fourteen more cases will be handled separately.

Two accusers testified this week, saying Westbrook gave unusual breast and gynecological exams that made them feel violated. For example, for breast exams, he used both hands, one on each breast, and he touched places doctors usually don't touch, they said.

Thomas testified that there are no billing records that say Westbrook performed a breast exam or a pelvic exam on the first woman to testify, known in court as "Y.B.," on the date of her visit, Nov. 3, 2010. But there are records for both types of exams on June 2, 2011, for the second woman to testify, "K.M.," she said.

Next week, a third woman, identified as "C.R.," is expected to testify about her own, similar allegations.

Thomas testified Friday that there are no billing or medical records that indicate that Westbrook conducted breast or pelvic exams on C.R. on the three dates she saw him, March 9, 2011, April 6, 2011 and Jan. 24, 2012.

Two other women who haven't testified yet, "K.N." and "A.R.," are expected to say Westbrook caressed or squeezed their breasts during visits. Thomas addressed their records Friday, too, saying there are none to indicate that either received a breast exam during their visits in October of 2011.

Thomas and doctors have testified that it is important for physicians to document what they do for a number of reasons. Thomas said it is their ethical responsibility to the patient, and is necessary to remain in good standing with the insurance companies.

Also testifying Friday was a director of victim services for a rape crisis center, who said it is not unusual for victims to delay their disclosure of sex assaults.

They often feel ashamed or embarrassed, said Peggy Pisano of the Rape Crisis Center of Milford. The person would be even more reluctant to come forward if the alleged attacker is in a position of authority, she said.

It's also common for sex assault victims to add information to their initial reports long after their disclosure, she said.

"Disclosure is a process, it's not an event," Pisano said.