Utah’s highest court slapped a Cache County doctor with a sex conviction Tuesday, unraveling his earlier victory in the court of appeals.
The verdict in Raymond L. Bedell’s case has been swinging in and out of his favor since 2007, when a jury in Utah’s 1st District Court convicted him of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor. The case stemmed from allegations that Bedell — an osteopath who specializes in pain — had inappropriately touched one of his patients.
A judge sentenced Bedell to six days in jail for the conviction.
The case also involved a more serious second-degree felony for forcible sexual abuse, but the jury cleared Bedell of that charge. Bedell’s attorneys called the overall outcome of the case a victory at the time, albeit one that along with another case involving additional felony acquittals damages his professional career.
In the aftermath of the rulings, Bedell continued to practice medicine. Documents from the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) show that his licence was revoked in 2010. However, later that year DOPL suspended that revocation, allowing him to resume working.
Bedell scored yet another victory in 2012, when the Utah Court of Appeals reversed his misdemeanor conviction and called for a new trial. The appeals court said in its ruling that references to other alleged victims could have unfairly biased the jury.
But the pendulum swung back the other way Tuesday when the Utah Supreme Court reinstated Bedell’s original sexual battery conviction.
The Supreme Court decision explains that a patient first came to Bedell in 2003 complaining of chronic knee and ankle pain. Bedell prescribed drugs for the woman, but also fondled her breasts and pressed himself against her, according to court documents.
The woman abused the drugs she received and eventually ended up in jail for prescription fraud and violating probation. While behind bars, the woman told investigators that Bedell had molested her.
Later, at Bedell’s trial, prosecutors brought up other alleged victims whose experience seemed to match that of the woman. Prosecutors said that they mentioned the other alleged victims merely to show that the woman couldn’t have fabricated her story.
Bedell later appealed, saying his original attorneys were ineffective because they allowed prosecutors to bring up the other alleged victims. The appeals court sided with Bedell and reversed his conviction.
Tuesday’s ruling from the Supreme Court states that Bedell’s attorneys were not ineffective. The ruling also states that the original judge wasn’t wrong to allow the information about other alleged victims to come up during the trial.
Assistant Attorney General Marian Decker described Tuesday’s ruling as a "solid win." She explained that her office pursued the case because of the legal issues it raised and because the A.G.’s office defends jury verdicts.
Bedell and his attorneys did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
According to DOPL documents, Bedell spent about two years working under strict licensing conditions. Beginning in May 2010, he was required to have a pre-approved chaperone present while interacting with female patients. He also had to keep a log of the chaperone’s activity, undergo a psychological evaluation, complete a course on "proper boundaries" and comply with an array of other requirements.
Those requirements ended in May 2012, according to DOPL documents.
Jennifer Bolton, a DOPL spokeswoman, said the division has closely monitored Bedell’s case and would review it again in light of Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision.
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