Shafeeq Sheikh booking photo. Houston women be careful if you see this man. He is a convicted rapist. pic.twitter.com/tHJco9rAS3— KristinnitsirK (@KrissyRedacted) August 19, 2018
In yet another tragic example of how rapists can get away with their heinous crime, a disgraced doctor evaded any prison time for sexually assaulting a patient even after being convicted by a jury.
Shafeeq Sheikh, a resident of Houston, Texas, lost his job and was stripped off his medical license after he was arrested for raping a patient during the night shift at Ben Taub Hospital in 2013. The assault took place when the 27-year-old victim was heavily sedated and lying in her hospital bed, tethered to several machines after suffering a severe asthma attack.
During the trial, the 46-year-old disgraced doctor admitted the sexual encounter but claimed it was consensual, with his lawyer resorting to the oldest trick in the book to defend the assailant: blaming the victim.
“He made a mistake, but he didn’t sexually assault her,” said attorney Lisa Andrews, according to the Houston Chronicle. “Here we have this Latina woman with her fake boobs that came onto that little nerdy middle-aged guy, and he lost his mind.”
Taking the victim-blaming even further, the lawyer also reportedly showed the jury Instagram photos of the woman, only identified as Laura. As reported by the BuzzFeed News, the victim had posted “sexy photos” on her social media account “as part of her job promoting a clothing boutique.”
It is important to mention the victim is a wife and a mother of two daughters.
However, the jury found Sheikh, a former Baylor College of Medicine resident, guilty of sexual assault.
In a sentence that surprised many, the jurors sentenced the assailant to 10 years on probation. The former doctor will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
“A hideous crime is committed in a hospital room which should be a sanctuary for patients,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. “So many new norms that run contrary to what we’ve always stood for, I pray no accountability for harming people isn’t one of them.”
According to Laura’s 2015 interview with the Houston Chronicle, Sheikh came into her room at least three times that night. At first, he told her he was there to examine her chest, after which he reportedly molested her. The victim said she realized she was being attacked, so she tried to press the bedside button to call the nurse, but the button had been disconnected.
Laura said the doctor eventually left the room but came back in later to repeat his behavior.
It was during his third visit that she said Sheikh raped her.
The woman not only reported the crime the next morning, she also asked for a rape kit.
“He sought her out. He chose her to prey on,” Assistant District Attorney Lauren Reeder said during the trial, reminding the juror that Sheikh knew exactly what medicines Laura had been prescribed.
“You know he’s the type of man who would go in multiple times, testing the waters, seeing how far he could go and get back to his normal business after that,” she added. “You know he’s the kind man of who walked around for two years before he was charged with this… knowing what he did.”
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