A state appeals court has upheld a former San Francisco doctor’s conviction and sentence of 10 years and eight months in prison for sexually assaulting three women during unwanted and unneeded pelvic exams.
Jose Rosas, 58, was convicted of the assaults by a San Francisco Superior Court jury in 2009 and was sentenced the following year.
The conviction and prison term were unanimously upheld by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal in San Francisco on Thursday.
Rosas, a general practitioner, was born in Peru and attended medical school there. He maintained his office in the Mission District of San Francisco.
The three assaults on women patients took place in 2002, 2005 and 2007.
The patients went to Rosas seeking treatment for back pain, shoulder pain and headaches, but were told by him that they needed pelvic exams, according to the appeals court ruling.
The women testified that Rosas instructed them to remove their clothes, did not give them a gown or drape and then penetrated them with a finger or fingers for prolonged periods of time. They said the exams were painful.
The jury convicted Rosas of unlawful sexual penetration of two of the women and four misdemeanor assaults against the third.
Rosas was also accused of sexually assaulting a fourth woman in 2004, but the jury deadlocked on that charge and prosecutors later dropped it.
The appeals court rejected Rosas’s argument that the trial judge should not have allowed hearsay, or secondhand, testimony from two women friends who two of the victims confided in shortly after the assaults.
Although hearsay testimony is normally not allowed, the friends’ testimony was permitted under an exception known as the “excited utterance” rule. The rule allows witnesses to testify about spontaneous statements made by a person who has just experienced a startling event.
The court said there was enough evidence about the victims’ state of agitation and distress to justify allowing the hearsay testimony about what the victims said.
In one case, the court said, the friend testified that the victim was shaking and “crying and crying and crying” after her appointment and said she felt that Rosas had raped her.
Rosas was arrested after the 2005 incident. At the time of the 2007 assault, he was free on bail while awaiting trial on the earlier incident.
The California Medical Board suspended his license to practice medicine in 2007 and permanently revoked it last year.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News