Jury to begin deliberations Monday in sexual misconduct case against ex-doctor

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

AKRON -- A Summit County Court of Common Pleas jury is expected to begin deliberations Monday in the sexual misconduct trial of a former doctor and Hudson resident.

James P. Bressi took the stand Aug. 19 and 20 and denied he had inappropriate contact with any his patients during pain treatment visits at Summit Pain Specialists in Stow.

Bressi, 60, is facing two counts of rape, 13 additional felony counts of gross sexual imposition and 12 misdemeanor counts of sexual imposition involving 11 women who were under his care from September 2011 to March 2013.

Bressi on Aug. 20 produced a unique reason for why 10 of 11 women have accused him of placing his genitals in their hand or rubbing against them during treatment visits.

When Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi asked him how the victims could be mistaken, Bressi stood at the witness table and removed two bottles from his left pants pocket.

"There is a very good reason," he said.

He placed the four-inch bottles with tapering tops on the witness stand table.

"I've carried these in my left pocket of my pants for 10 years," Bressi said. "They're rather phallic-like. One is soft with fluids going through it, and the other is hard."

He said the sweetener and antibiotic bottles could have rubbed against the patient.

"All this investigation, you're telling me all this was a misunderstanding?" LoPrinzi asked. "They were just grabbing your medicines in your pocket?"

Bressi testified the patients did not know all the techniques of osteopathic manipulation treatment, they were confused by medications they were taking and many of the patients were under stress or misinterpreted his actions. He said some of the patients had severe brain or psychological problems that affected memory and emotions or caused hallucinations.

Bressi also testified that Dr. Robert Geiger, who at one time could have bought into a partnership but didn't, wanted to force him from Summit Pain Specialists, even though Bressi said he had announced he was going to retire.

Geiger instituted a policy that Bressi needed a chaperone with female patients and asked other employees to spy on him, Bressi said.

"Is Dr. Geiger using them [alleged victims] as tools to oust you from the business?" LoPrinzi asked Bressi.

"Absolutely," Bressi answered.

LoPrinzi reminded Bressi that the previous day he was instructed to demonstrate the OMT techniques on one of his former patients, but treated her, including cracking her neck, which was improper because he no longer has a medical license.

"You did it anyway," LoPrinzi said. "That's a bold move."

"I did it for 20 years. I can do it in my sleep," Bressi said. "I couldn't turn it off. I just did it."

Defense Attorney Michael Callahan named each patient the prosecution called and asked Bressi, "Did you ever touch (victim's name) in a sexual manner or for sexual gratification?"

"I did not," Bressi answered each time.

Trial history

The trial began with two patients testifying Aug. 14 and another eight the next day in Judge Tom Parker's court room.

Summit County Assistant Prosecutors Margaret Scott and LoPrinzi called five witnesses Aug. 18, including one patient.

The woman, 77, testified, she had chronic pain and went to Bressi for injections, or nerve blocks. On March 2, 2012, instead of a nurse coming to her in the recovery room, which was normal, she testified, Bressi entered and massaged her back.

"This was the first time after a nerve block. It was the first time for a massage," she said.

She testified he moved her hand to his genitals, and she moved her hand back. He repeated the action and held her hand tight the third time, she testified.

"He said he was going to massage my tail bone," she said. "I don't know why. He put his finger in my rectum. It hurt real bad. I asked him to stop, but he wouldn't."

She didn't report it until she saw on TV that Bressi had been arrested, she testified.

"I thought I was the only one," she said.

Callahan showed the witness her charts which showed OMT by Bressi took place on Feb. 17, 2012.

"I'm telling you he did not do this [therapy]," the victim said.

Her daughter testified that she was in the examination room with her mother on March 2, 2012, and she could not see Bressi's hand because it was under a blanket and thought her mother's protest was because of the pain.

"I saw his facial expression and had to look away," the daughter said. "I didn't know what was going on."

Her mother told her about the incident in the car going home and was bleeding from the rectum.

"She was scared," her daughter testified. "She didn't want to go back to him."

Callahan questioned the accuracy of medical records and the side effects of the drugs used on the patients.

Tricia Kay, a registered nurse who worked in the procedure and recovery rooms at the Summit Pain Management office from 2010 to 2012, testified she noticed a change in Bressi in the fall of 2010.

"His clothes were wrinkled, hands dirty, and he smelled," Kay said. "It seemed strange and out of character. He was always clean and neat."

Patti Herink, a registered nurse, worked at Summit Pain Management for four years at the Stow location. She testified that she noticed a change in Bressi's appearance as well.

Herink was in the office when the jury and court officials visited Aug. 14.

"He [Bressi] flipped me the bird when he was leaving," Herink testified.

Detective Jeff Swanson took the stand and testified about investigating the case, which began May 15, 2012, when Police Officer Steven Green took a report from a victim. Swanson interviewed more than 120 people in the investigation.

"There was no physical evidence present, so it fell back on witness statements," Swanson testified.

Judge Parker told the jury not to return until Monday for deliberations. A verdict could be announced the week of Aug. 24.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434 Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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