Hollister anesthesiologist Annamalai Ashokan is expected to go before a Butte County judge on a single charge of misdemeanor sexual battery, according to Deputy District Attorney Matt Taylor. Ashokan, 65, a resident of Tres Pinos, was arrested by Chico police Jan. 30 on suspicion of felony sexual assault at his practice in Chico. An investigation was conducted after one of his patients filed an allegation that he assaulted her on April 6, 2018.
Taylor told BenitoLink on March 14 that the DA’s office will file charges against Ashokan within a day or two. Ashokan is expected to appear in court within the next few weeks, Taylor said, and has retained Chico-based Philip Heithecker as his attorney.
“We feel we have a very strong misdemeanor sexual battery case,” Taylor said. “We were considering a felony, but the way the statutes are written for felony sexual battery the conduct that we’re dealing with here falls right outside of those definitions.”
Taylor described the alleged incident involving Ashokan as a “bizarre set of facts” that falls in between the legal definition of the two felonies. He said the misdemeanor definition is much broader to include any type of sexual touching against a person’s will.
“That’s clearly what we have here,” he said. “She came to while he was assaulting her.”
Taylor said the DA’s office had been looking at two other statutes.
“There’s sexual battery of an institutionalized victim, and for that to apply the victim would have to be either seriously disabled, which she wasn’t in this case,” Taylor said. “Or she has to be anesthetized, which she also wasn’t. It was close. The doctor was administering the treatment and she lost consciousness due to the administration. It’s a little different nuance. The second one is restraint, meaning you would have to have some sort of illegal restraint applied by the defendant.”
Taylor said the victim had been a patient of Ashokan for at least two years.
Chico detectives have communicated with investigators from the state’s Health Quality Investigation Unit that oversees medical licensing investigations, Taylor said, and at this time there is no indication of other victims.
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