Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bethpage Pediatrician Charged With Sexually Abusing and Videotaping Naked Young Girls Under Guise of ‘Medical Exams’


MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that a Bethpage pediatrician has been indicted by a grand jury on charges that he sexually abused and assaulted girls as young as 11 years old under the guise of medical examinations, and then secretly videotaped and photographed them.Rakesh Punn

The 60-count indictment, filed with the court on Monday, charges Dr. Rakesh Punn, 53, of Bethpage, with four counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance, 28 counts of Assault in the Second Degree, 10 counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, three counts of Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child, one count of Possessing a Sexual Performance by a Child, six counts of Unlawful Surveillance in the Second Degree, seven counts of Fraudulently Obtaining a Signature, and one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison on each of the 28 assault charges. He is scheduled to be arraigned on July 11. He has been in jail on $3.5 million bail since he was originally arrested on July 16, 2010.

Rice said that as early as 2007, Punn obtained video footage and still photographs of at least five young girls in his office. Punn would get video footage in two different ways. First, he would have them disrobe, lie on the examining table, and cover their eyes with gauze and a blindfold. He would then videotape or photograph his sexual contact with them. Investigators say that Punn touched and manipulated the girl’s genitals. In many instances, Punn would give the girls a sedative to render them unconscious.

In other instances, he would have the girl stand in his office, while a small digital camera hidden among objects on his desk recorded video. Punn would then have the victim expose her breasts in various positions while being taped.

Punn did all this while telling the girls that these were medically necessary examinations. Punn also duped some of the girls into signing a “contract” that said that they were 18 years old and willing to perform numerous sexual acts on Punn. The victims have told the District Attorney’s Office that they never saw the document they were tricked into signing.

In addition to the assaults and sexual abuse, Punn wrote prescriptions for chloral-hydrate, a controlled substance, and gave the prescriptions to patients or another person. He would then trick the patients into filling prescriptions and bringing them back to him, under the guise of compounding a special drug or "checking" the prescription. Punn then secretly removed the bottle of chloral-hydrate and kept it for himself. Pursuant to a search warrant of his office, three bottles of chloral-hydrate were recovered, with prescription labels in patient's names.

The investigation began with a tip to the DA’s Office and is being investigated by the DA Squad and members of the NCPD’s Crimes Against Property Squad. Rice is asking anyone who believes that they might have been a victim of Dr. Punn to contact the NCPD’s Special Victim’s Unit, please call (516) 573-7960.

A search of his home revealed a large amount of cash and a forged international driver’s license with his photo, but a false name and birth date.

“This trusted pediatrician turned his office into a house of horrors for many young girls, and I am asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this sexual predator to contact my office immediately,” Rice said.

Assistant District Attorneys Jane Zwirn-Turkin and Jennifer Mazzei of the Rackets Bureau are prosecuting the case for the DA’s Office. The defendant is represented by Nick Marino, Esq.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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