Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Plastic surgeon sentenced to 3 years 8 months in prison for fondling patients

A plastic surgeon who sexually exploited his patients was sentenced to 3 2/3 years in a California prison and lifetime sex offender registration yesterday. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White sentenced Dr. Scott Takasugi, 56, to the sentence because three years ago, Takasugi fondled women undergoing breast surgery. Judge White said that the fondling was "planned conduct, and there was a position of trust. The doctor-patient relationship is considerable. This is one where the victims acceded reluctantly to the doctor's conduct, based upon their judgment that he was doing what was in their interests, even though it didn't seem like it to them. And they only did that because he was their doctor and they trusted him."

 "I'm particularly taken by the repeat behavior involved here," the judge said. "If this were an isolated instance...and there were great contrition and full grasp of criminality, I think it would be a good case for probation. But that is not what we have here," Judge White said.

The judge said that Takasugi "created his own world" of guns, cars and sex and that he "objectified the people around him" in the process. Takasugi manipulated his victims "for his own satisfaction and amusement," White said.

The judge said, "He had created a sort of solipsistic existence," which wouldn't be criminal unto itself, until he "objectified" his victims, White said, to the point where he didn't think he did anything wrong. "These people who are players in this case, on the stage of his world, he used them for his own satisfaction, for amusement," White said.

Takasugi was supposed to have been sentenced earlier in November, but the previous court dates were postponed becase of his father's death, then a mental health hold. After he as led from the courtroom in shackles, one of his victims said that "I'm just really glad that this is done and that I can be happy again."

A second victim, Brenda Meininger, said that "I suffered anxiety going to the doctor. It was really hard for me going to the doctor alone. I break down and cry. I had to have friends come with me as moral support. I'm an adult, and that's embarrassing. I really feel like the defendant needs to spend some time in jail. It doesn't sound like he thinks that what happened was anything serious."

Takasugi plead guilty to the assaults on June 5, 2009, and he was barred from practicing medicine in California permanently.

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