Hollister anesthesiologist Annamalai Ashokan, 65, is scheduled to be tried in Butte County Superior Court on Oct. 28, according to Butte County Deputy District Attorney Matt Taylor. The doctor was initially charged with felony sexual battery against a patient at his Chico clinic earlier this year, but the charge was later reduced to misdemeanor sexual battery.
“He could still plead out prior to trial,” Taylor told BenitoLink. “We have two hearings before trial and there’s always a risk the defense attorney could evoke to continue and the judge could grant it.”
Taylor believes Ashokan’s defense attorney, Philip Heithecker, is trying to deal with the administrative issue of reinstating Ashokan’s suspended medical license. Heithecker was unable to respond before deadline.
“They want that to be resolved or have some indication of where that’s going and then they’ll plead this out, depending on how it goes,” Taylor said. “That seems to be the bigger issue to the defense, rather than the criminal case.”
Chico police arrested Ashokan on Jan. 30 on suspicion of felony sexual assault at his practice in Chico after one of his patients alleged that he assaulted her on April 6, 2018. A felony charge was filed against him on March 18, but was reduced to a misdemeanor on April 6. Ashokan was released on $25,000 bail. Since then, he appeared for two predisposition hearings on April 11 and April 18.
Ashokan has private practices in Hollister and Chico, and was a physician with privileges at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital until an administrative judge suspended his medical license. He is still listed as a doctor with privileges at Orchard Hospital in Gridley, north of Sacramento.
Other related BenitoLink articles: