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Doctor gets 6 months in jail for fondling unconscious patients

February 20, 2013 |  7:44 pm

Yashwant Balgiri GiriAn Orange County anesthesiologist convicted of sexually assaulting three unconscious female patients  has been sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation, despite the objections of prosecutors who wanted state prison time.

Yashwant Balgiri Giri, 60, pleaded guilty to a court offer to multiple felony counts related to the sexual battery of patients, including a 16-year-old, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.

Giri will have to register as a lifetime sex offender and will have his medical license revoked, in addition to the jail time and probation.

Prosecutors sought a state prison sentence, citing a violation of his "position of power and trust" with the women at a particularly vulnerable time.

Giri, who lives in Cypress, was working at Placentia-Linda Hospital at the time of the crimes, prosecutors said. He previously worked at several hospitals in Anaheim and Lakewood.

Through a spokeswoman, Placentia-Linda Hospital declined to comment.

Prosecutors said that in February 2009,  while a 16-year-old was unconscious from medication, Giri assaulted the girl when a scrub nurse preparing surgery tools had her back turned. The nurse witnessed the assault, prosecutors said, and reported it immediately to a hospital official.

Prosecutors allege that the hospital did not report the incident to police at the time.

In March 2011, prosecutors said, a hospital employee witnessed Giri fondling the breasts of a 36-year-old woman while she was under anesthesia for an outpatient surgery procedure.

An employee allegedly witnessed the incident  Prosecutors said the fondling continued for an extended period of time, as his actions were concealed from the surgeon and nurse.

The alleged assault was reported to a hospital official and then to Placentia police, prosecutors said.

Soon after an investigation began, Giri resigned from his duties at the hospital.

After he was arrested in May 2011, a third alleged victim stepped forward, saying she had been assaulted by Giri.

In April 2010, prosecutors said, Giri assaulted a 27-year-old woman while she was being put under anesthesia but before she was unconscious. Prosecutors said he touched the woman under the pretense of performing an examination, although it had no legitimate medical purpose.

During a sentencing hearing, a statement from the then-36-year-old woman, who was fondled, was read by prosecutors.

"His actions make me question every single doctor, nurse, medical decision and procedure I encounter within my everyday life," she said. "I not only fear for myself, I fear for my child, my friends, my family. This is a burden caused by the perverted actions of this predator."


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Photo: Yashwant Balgiri Giri. Credit: Orange County district attorney's office.