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Undercover officer's testimony in sexual assault case questioned

August 4, 2011 | 10:20 am

Photo: Dr. Kevin Brown, left, with his attorney, Blair Berk, at a hearing in Los Angeles  on Sept. 9, 2008. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press A defense attorney for Dr. Kevin Brown, the South Los Angeles physician accused of sexually assaulting a dozen female patients, raised doubts this week about the testimony of an undercover Los Angeles Police Department officer.
 
During her testimony Wednesday, Officer Stacey Young, who posed as a patient for a June 2008 undercover operation at Brown’s Crenshaw Boulevard practice, said Brown caught her off-guard during an examination when he pulled up her top and exposed her left breast.
 
“I said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa! What are you doing?'” Young testified, adding that she immediately pushed him away.
 
In the audio recording obtained from the undercover operation, however, those words could not be heard. Still, Young maintained she uttered that phrase when Brown allegedly exposed her left breast.
 
“Are you saying the audio equipment was defective?” defense attorney Edi M.O. Faal later asked.
 
Young eventually answered, “Yes. We had defective equipment.”
 
Los Angeles police had aborted a planned sting on June 18, 2008, when the audio and video feeds failed, Young said. Police rescheduled the undercover operation for the next day. On that day, the video feed died a little more than an hour into the visit, but the audio receiver kept recording. The last viewable images were of Young waiting to see Brown in an examination room.

The officer, who has more than 10 years of undercover experience, said that subsequent visits to Brown’s office were canceled because the alleged incident had a great emotional impact on her.

The officer’s testimony in the trial that began last week followed that of other women who also claim they had been assaulted or inappropriately touched by Brown when they came to him for treatment.
 
Prosecutors say Brown, 40, assaulted almost a dozen female patients, including the undercover officer, under the guise of unnecessary breast and pelvic exams beginning in 2003.
 
His 2008 arrest came after several women contacted authorities and accused Brown of sexually battering or raping them during those examinations, Deputy Dist. Atty. Ann Marie Wise said.
 
Brown, the son of the ex-premier of Bermuda, has pleaded not guilty to 33 felony sex charges and could face life in prison if convicted on all counts.
 
The state is also investigating Brown in "multiple healthcare fraud schemes and over-prescription of Oxycodone," according to court documents. He has not been charged in connection with that inquiry.
 
At the time of his arrest, Brown was free on bail for a previous sexual assault arrest.
 
Brown operated the now-defunct Urban Health Institute of Los Angeles. The charity, which was run out of the same building as Brown's practice, sought to provide disaster relief in the United States, South America and throughout Africa.

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-- Ricardo Lopez

Photo: Dr. Kevin Brown, left, with his attorney, Blair Berk, at a hearing in Los Angeles  on Sept. 9, 2008. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press

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