LI pediatrician arraigned on charges of abusing girls

July 15, 2011 2:36:34 PM PDT
A Long Island a pediatrician was arraigned Friday morning, accused of taking advantage of his young female patients.

Dr. Rakesh Punn is facing 60 counts of sexual assault after he allegedly took nude videos of and sexually assault girls as young as 11 years old.

The 53-year-old Punn, of Bethpage, was first arrested in July 2010 and charged with secretly videotaping girls while they were naked in his office.

He had been in jail on $3.5 million bail since he was originally arrested.

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that as early as 2007, Punn obtained video footage and still photographs of at least five young girls in his office. She said Punn would get video footage in two different ways. First, he would have the girl disrobe, lie on the examining table and cover her eyes with gauze and a blindfold. He would then videotape or photograph the sexual contact. Investigators say that Punn touched and manipulated the girls' genitals and would often give the girls a sedative to render them unconscious.

In other instances, Rice said he would have the girl stand in his office, while a small digital camera hidden among objects on his desk recorded video. Punn would then have the victim expose her breasts in various positions while being taped.

According to prosecutors, Punn did all this while telling the girls that these were medically necessary examinations. He also allegedly duped some of the girls into signing a contract that said that they were 18 years old and willing to perform numerous sexual acts on him. The victims have told the District Attorney's Office that they never saw the document they were tricked into signing.

In addition to the assaults and sexual abuse, Punn wrote prescriptions for choral-hydrate, a controlled substance, and gave the prescriptions to patients or another person. Rice said he would then trick the patients into filling prescriptions and bringing them back to him, under the guise of compounding a special drug or checking the prescription. He then secretly removed the bottle and kept it for himself, according to Rice. Pursuant to a search warrant of his office, three bottles of chloral-hydrate were recovered, with prescription labels in patients' names.

Rice is asking anyone else who believes that they might have been a victim of Dr. Punn to contact the NCPD's Special Victims Unit atl (516) 573-7960.

A search of his home revealed a large amount of cash and a forged international driver's license with his photo, but a false name and birth date.

"This trusted pediatrician turned his office into a house of horrors for many young girls, and I am asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this sexual predator to contact my office immediately," Rice said.

If convicted, Dr. Punn could spend the rest of his life in prison.