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More alleged victims accuse doctor of sex assault

DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press

Publication: theday.com

Published June 14. 2012 2:00PM   Updated June 14. 2012 2:18PM

MIDDLETOWN — At least three more alleged victims have stepped forward with sexual assault complaints against a doctor charged with inappropriately touching patients during exams at a community health center in Clinton, a state prosecutor told a judge Thursday.

Middlesex State's Attorney Peter McShane said the number of complaints against Dr. Tory Westbrook has doubled since his arrest, but declined to confirm the exact number or provide details of the new allegations. Westbrook was charged June 5 with multiple counts of second-degree sexual assault against three alleged victims.

Westbrook, 43, of Glastonbury, denies all the charges.

McShane's comments came during a hearing in Middletown Superior Court on whether three police affidavits supporting Westbrook's arrest should remain sealed from public view. McShane argued they should remain sealed to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation and to protect the identities of the alleged victims. The documents have been sealed since Westbrook's arrest.

Despite objections from Westbrook's attorney and the media, Judge Susan Handy sided with McShane and ordered the affidavits spelling out the allegations to remain sealed until at least July 17, when another hearing on continuing the sealing will be held. Handy also sealed search warrant affidavits in the case.

"These are sensitive cases and the identities of the victims need to be protected at this time," Handy said.

Handy, however, could have ordered the release of the documents with the alleged victims' names redacted, but declined to do so.

Westbrook, the husband of Superior Court Judge Dawne Westbrook, was arrested last week after a five-month investigation that included state prosecutors, health officials and consumer protection authorities, according to Clinton police. The alleged incidents at Clinton's Community Health Center occurred between 2010 and January, police said.

Officials at the health center said they received a serious complaint against Westbrook within days after he resigned in February to become medical director of the Charter Oak Health Center in Hartford.

Police said they have interviewed "a number" of alleged victims who said they were sexually abused during appointments.

Westbrook's lawyer, Norman Pattis, said Thursday that he read the arrest warrant affidavits and there was nothing in them that rose to the level of sexual assault. He also said there are no claims that Westbrook exposed himself, was sexually aroused or engaged in conduct unrelated to his examinations of the patient.

Pattis said Westbrook, who is free on $450,000 bail, is now unfairly viewed as a "serial rapist" in the public's eyes.

"There was no sexual assault," Pattis said. "There was conduct within the range of clinically accepted procedures."

Westbrook has been placed on administrative leave from Charter Oak Health Center. He was also a member of Gov. Dannel Malloy's health care cabinet, but the governor's office has been reviewing the appointment after the arrest.

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