Former Dayton Children’s Hospital physician Arun Aggarwal Dec. 21 pleaded guilty to four counts of gross sexual imposition, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas court records.
Aggarwal, an Indian American pediatric gastroenterologist, had previously pleaded not guilty to allegations that he improperly touched two teenage female patients (see India-West article here).
“Between Dec. 23, 2013, and Nov. 10, 2014, the defendant, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital, inappropriately touched teens during medical examinations,” said a statement released by the office of Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck, according to a Dayton Daily News report. “The inappropriate touching was not a medically necessary part of the examination.”
Samuel Shamansky, Aggarwal’s attorney, Dec. 21 said the plea agreement between his client and the county calls for a 10-month sentence, with credit for the four months he has been in jail awaiting trial, the report added.
When he gets out, the agreement states Aggarwal, who is in the U.S. on a work visa, will voluntarily return to his native India if he is not deported.
“This gives him certainty and ends a very difficult saga in his life and he’s eager to get back to India and move ahead,” Shamansky said in the report.
Aggarwal also could face financial sanctions of up to $5,000 on each count and a prison term of 18 months on each count, according to the court filing, the report said.
The agreement says he will be a Tier 1 offender, meaning he will be unable to reside within 1,000 feet of a school, preschool or daycare and must register his address every year for 15 years, it added.
Aggarwal, 40, was arrested when he flew from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., to catch a connecting flight to India.
He was held at Loudon County Jail in Virginia without bail before being extradited back to Ohio, where he is being held on $500,000 bail, and has been ordered to surrender his passport.
Aggarwal has been charged with four felony counts of gross sexual imposition. He has told the Ohio State Medical Examiners Board that he touched the girls’ chests as part of his examinations.
Allegations against the gastroenterologist began emerging four years ago.
Aggarwal testified that – in both cases – touching the young women’s chests was necessary for proper examination. He said he pressed on the first patient’s sternum to check for chest pain, and examined a surgical scar on the chest of the second patient.
The parents of both patients declined to file charges, and an earlier investigation was dropped. But Heck decided to re-open the case based on new evidence that came to light while the Medical Examiner’s Board was determining whether to revoke Aggarwal’s license to practice.
Aggarwal practiced at Dayton Children’s Hospital, but he was employed by Wright State University. He was hired in December 2013 and terminated by WSU in September 2015 after his hospital admitting privileges lapsed during the police investigation.
Aggarwal sued Wright State in federal court alleging he was fired without due process, and an arbitrator has ruled the university has to pay Aggarwal $91,799 because the school didn’t follow proper steps to fire him. The university may appeal the decision.