Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rego Park Psychiatrist Convicted of Sex Assault

A Long Island psychiatrist with a practice in Rego Park has been found guilty of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl during two therapy sessions.

An attorney for Raj Danthuluri, 40, of Hicksville, proclaimed his client’s innocence and vowed to appeal the verdict, which came following a three-day bench trial in Queens Criminal Court. Danthuluri, who has an office at 64-33 99th Street, was found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree sexual abuse on Monday.

Danthuluri now faces up to one year in prison when he is sentenced on February 13. He will also be required to register as a sex offender and submit a DNA sample to the DNA databank.

“As a medical doctor and therapist the defendant must have been aware of how harmful his actions would be to his young patient,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “A doctor’s office should always be a safe place for a patient, free of sexual predators – especially those treating children.”

According to testimony provided at trial, Danthuluri touched the breast of a 16-year-old female patient during a psychiatric consultation in his private offices on May 1, 2007. During a psychiatric appointment with the same patient on July 23, 2007, the doctor touched her right breast and took her left breast out of her bra and pinched her nipple. The abuse came to light when the patient told her mother about the incidents.

A message left with Danthuluri’s attorney, Joseph Hanshe of Sayville, was not immediately returned. However, Hanshe told Newsday that he “fervently” believes in his client’s innocence. “He’s obviously very upset about this. He’s got family, and he’s got children. He’s a wonderful man and a wonderful doctor, and we’re going to appeal this.”

Danthuluri was convicted by Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron after deciding to forego his right to a jury trial.

Editor's Note: Danthuluri's attorney, Joseph Hanshe, provided the Forum with the following statement on Wednesday evening:

In my opinion, as a Lawyer who has defended physicians for over 25 years, Dr. Danthuluri is not guilty of any criminal activity. The girl who lodged these claims is a juvenile delinquent; she had been arrested for Assault, Robbery, fighting, kicking and spitting at a police officer and is currently on Probation with the Family Court of Queens County. She was and currently is on heavy duty medications for antisocial behavior. She has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder who are individuals known to be liars. She was involved in a homosexual affair with another young girl when she present to Dr. D. Her mother is also on very potent antipsychotic mediations. It was the mother who gave the Doctor permission to examine the girl who came into his office complaining of chest pains, shortness of breath. She is currently seeing another psychiatrist who has her on very potent antipsychotic medications. It was this type of person that a Judge thought more credible than a respected physician in the community.

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