A former Texas doctor who was found guilty of raping a heavily sedated patient will not serve time in prison for his crime.
Shafeeq Sheikh, 46, was instead sentenced by a jury to just 10 years’ probation and will have to register as a sex offender after he was convicted of raping an acute asthma patient during a night shift when he was a physician at Ben Taub General Hospital in November 2013
Visiting Senior District Judge Terry L. Flenniken was required to follow the jurors recommendation by law, according to the Houston Chronicle
His punishment surprised defense attorneys and disappointed law enforcement. It also sparked concerns from a rape victims advocacy group and sparked outrage on social media.
Fox News reports: Sheikh was working the night shift at Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital in 2013 when a woman, previously identified as Laura, was admitted for shortness of breath and wheezing. She was in the hospital overnight and sedated when Sheikh came to her room several times during the night and sexually assaulted her.
Laura said she attempted to get help from a nurse, but the call button wouldn’t work.
DNA evidence was collected from a rape kit — but it took two years for charges to be filed against Sheikh. The DNA collected from the former doctor’s cheek swab match those in a rape kit.
Surveillance video also captured Sheikh on the floor where the woman’s room was located. He used his badge to swipe onto her floor at least 12 times that night.
“He sought her out. He chose her to prey on,” Assistant District Attorney Lauren Reeder said during Friday’s sentencing. “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.”
“You know he’s the kind man of who walked around for two years before he was charged with this… knowing what he did,” she added.
During the trial, the doctor admitted to the sexual contact with the woman, but insisted it was consensual. His lawyers also pleaded with the jury to show some compassion to Sheikh, his wife and children, who also suffered consequences due to the 46-year-old’s actions.
“The dreams of a man, the childhood dream to become a doctor, were shattered by his conduct. He destroyed his own dreams,” Sheikh’s lawyer Stanley Schneider said. “What he has done to himself and his family is punishment. They are serving his sentence with him. His children are serving his sentence with him.”
Sheikh has since left the hospital. The Texas Medical Board revoked his license in 2015 after they found he was a “continuing threat to public welfare.”
Laura, now 32, said after the sentencing that she wanted to move on from the incident. She told KHOU11 in 2015 that she believes there are other victims.