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San Jose Mercury News (CA) - Thursday, February 27, 2003
Readability: >12 grade level (Lexile: 1590L)
Author: ELISE BANDUCCI, Mercury News
The defense team representing the Gilroy doctor charged with sexually assaulting his patients opened Wednesday with explicit testimony about his physical measurements and the height of the exam table, laying the groundwork for its argument that it would be impossible for the physician to sexually penetrate the women during pelvic exams.

Former patients of Dr. Raul Ixtlahuac have testified that they felt the doctor 's clothes inappropriately pressing up against their vaginal area and then sensed something penetrating them that did not feel like a speculum or fingers while they were lying on an exam table with a hospital drape blocking their view.

But defense attorney Doron Weinberg has said, since the trial began last week, that detailed measurements of Ixtlahuac, taken by Kaiser physician Harley Goldberg, will support the doctor 's innocence.

Wednesday capped a fifth day of graphic testimony in the Santa Clara County trial of Ixtlahuac, 41, a family physician who practiced at Kaiser 's Gilroy facility until he was arrested on the premises in May 2001. He is charged with four counts of sexual penetration and two counts of sexual battery between fall 2000 and spring 2001.

A Kaiser official testified Wednesday that the facility conducted an investigation after the first allegations surfaced in September 2000 and decided to allow Ixtlahuac to continue practicing.

If convicted of all felonies, Ixtlahuac faces 16 years in prison, said Deputy District Attorney Chuck Gillingham.

On Wednesday, Weinberg began to chip away at the testimony of one of the six women who said they were assaulted by the doctor .

The woman had testified that during an examination in September 2000 with Ixtlahuac, she felt ''male parts'' penetrate her. She said she didn't say anything at the time because she was in disbelief.

Soon after, she called police.

But on Wednesday, a Kaiser nurse testified that the woman was never alone with the doctor during the examination. The nurse said she did not witness anything inappropriate while she was in the room.

After court, Weinberg said he will present further evidence regarding the measurements -- which included the length of Ixtlahuac's erection -- that will show that what the women allege couldn't have happened.

But Gillingham said: ''As long as there has been sex, men have found ways to do the act. I think it's an absolutely ludicrous argument that based on an inch or two, he couldn't pull this off.''
Edition: Morning Final
Section: Local
Page: 1B
Record Number: 0302280031
Copyright (c) 2003 San Jose Mercury News