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Third indictment for doctor accused of recording sex crimes against sedated women


By Chris Glorioso and Kristina Pavlovic Sola - NBC NY - 14.03.2024 - [USA] - [Zhi Alan Cheng] Prosecutors in Queens have added more alleged sex crimes to an already lengthy list of charges faced by gastroenterologist, Dr. Zhi Alan Cheng.

The latest accusations, contained in a third indictment against Cheng, involve a 48-year-old woman who says, in November of 2021, she was sedated for a colonoscopy inside New York-Presbyterian Hospital Queens only to wake up and find Cheng sexually abusing her.

In an exclusive interview with the I-Team last Fall, this latest alleged victim said she tried to push memories of the incident to the back of her mind, but after seeing news coverage of Dr. Cheng’s first two indictments, she decided to tell law enforcement.

“I was in the recovery area with the curtains drawn and Dr. Cheng was giving me a vaginal exam,” she said. “I know myself that gastro and gynecology don’t go together.” The woman’s attorney, Nicholas Liakas, has filed a lawsuit on her behalf and on the behalf of several other women who say New York Presbyterian failed to act on clear warning signs that Dr. Cheng’s behavior was predatory. “The hospital failed on multiple levels, period,” Liakas said. In particular, he pointed to an incident during the summer of 2021 in which a 19-year-old patient of Dr. Cheng said she asked for a hospital investigation after being sedated with an unknown substance and waking up with severe pain in her lower abdomen. After that episode, Cheng continued to practice at the hospital. The DA would later accuse Cheng of raping that patient while recording cell phone video of the crime inside a hospital exam room. “Had it been investigated properly at that point, had he been suspended, had his license been revoked at that point, you would have prevented an additional assault that we know of,” Liakas said.

In response to the latest indictment against Cheng, NewYork-Presbyterian issued a statement saying: "The crimes detailed in these additional charges are horrific, and we are deeply sorry for all that the victims and their families have endured. We have continued to work with the District Attorney to advance the investigation and see that justice is served.” The hospital says it fired Cheng after learning of the criminal case against him.

Cheng now faces more than 60 sex crime charges. He has pleaded not guilty to each of them and his attorney declined to comment on the indictments. Cheng is being held in Rikers Island without bail.

In a statement, Thursday, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz called Dr. Cheng a predator and urged other women to contact her office’s Special Victims Bureau if they think they may have been victimized by the gastroenterologist.

“What we have heard from the victims and seen in the videos is the shocking and horrifying exploitation of women at their most vulnerable," said Katz. “Taken together, the evidence details the repeated attacks of a sexual predator who time and again betrayed his sworn professional oath and the trust of women who were unable to defend themselves." If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.

 
 

Dignity4patients Commentary: Sexual predators in the medical field often have multiple victims, repeatedly violating their professional oath. The key to preventing abuse lies in thorough investigations, suspensions, and revoking licenses to remove these abusers from healthcare. Patient Safety First.

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