An Orange County anesthesiologist was sentenced today to six months behind bars for sexually assaulting three patients under his care, including an unconscious teen.
Yashwant Balgiri Giri, 60, of Cypress, accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Fitzgerald, over the objections of Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Nichols.
"We thought state prison was appropriate," the prosecutor said. "He was a doctor who violated his position of trust and authority, and when he assaulted the victims, they were completely vulnerable."
Fitzgerald did not return a call for comment to explain his decision to sentence Giri to 180 days in county jail when he faced up to 13 years in state prison. During the sentencing, Fitzgerald noted that Giri will lose his medical license as a result of being ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, but he otherwise did not explain his decisions to issue a minimal sentence over the objections of the prosecutor’s office.
Giri, who worked at Placentia-Linda Hospital when he assaulted the victims also worked at other hospitals in Southern California including Lakewood Regional Medical Center, Anaheim Regional Medical Center, West Anaheim Medical Center, and Western Medical Center, Anaheim.
A message left with Giri's attorney, Thomas McDonald, was not immediately returned.
In February 2009, Giri used his fingers to sexually assault a 16-year- old girl under anesthesia during a knee operation, Nichols said. A nurse, who initially had her back turned, saw what happened and reported the incident to a hospital director, but hospital officials failed to immediately call police, Nichols said.
In March 2011, the defendant fondled the breasts of a 36-year-old woman who was put under anesthesia for an outpatient surgical procedure, Nichols said. A hospital employee saw the assault through an operating room window, while a tarp prevented the surgeon and nurse from seeking Giri, Nichols said.
The witness told hospital officials, who called Placentia police, she said.
Giri quit his job and his medical license was suspended pending the outcome of the case, Nichols said. After Giri was charged, a third woman came forward in October 2011 to say the doctor had molested the 27-year-old while he was putting her under anesthesia in April 2010, Nichols said.
One victim told the judge, "His actions make me question every single doctor, nurse, medical decision and procedure I encounter within my everyday life. I not only fear for myself, I fear for my child, my friends, my family. This is a burden caused by the perverted actions of this predator."
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- City News Service and OC Patch Staff contributed to this report.