Charges against doctor reduced to misdemeanor

A local doctor with staff privileges at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery in Butte County, after police arrested him based on accusations by a female patient there.

Dr. Annamalai Ashokan was arraigned on the charge of sexual battery March 22, according to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey. He has not yet entered a plea. Ashokan’s next hearing is scheduled for May 2 for a plea hearing at the Butte County courthouse.

Police in Chico arrested Ashokan Jan. 30 after a female patient reported that he sexually assaulted her during a medical procedure in his office in that city. At the time of his arrest, Ashokan maintained office hours in Chico one day a week but was based in Hollister.

The Hazel Hawkins website still lists Ashokan as a pain management doctor on the “Find a doctor” section of the page.

Initially after Ashokan’s arrest, prosecutors in Butte County were considering charging him with a felony. However, Ramsey said they filed the lesser misdemeanor charge because “the facts didn’t support a felony.”

“The way the law is written, he would have to forcibly restrain her, and that’s not how the facts in this particular case came about,” Ramsey said.

In Chico, Ashokan maintained a private practice at Skyway Surgery Center. He specializes in pain management at both his Chico and Hollister offices. His Hollister office is listed as Monterey Pain Treatment, is located at 581 McCray St. and he also is listed with the Pacific Pain Treatment Center, 930 Sunnyslope Rd., in Hollister.

Police said after Ashokan’s arrest that they don’t think there are any additional victims in Chico. The current accusation is not related to Ashokan’s practice or medical activity in San Benito County.

In 2000, Ashokan pleaded no contest in San Benito County to misdemeanor sexual exploitation of a patient/client, a violation of the state Business and Professions Code, reads a complaint against him found on the Medical Board of California’s website.

Subsequently, the Medical Board took administrative action against Ashokan and accused him of sexual misconduct, gross negligence and dishonest and corrupt acts, the state Medical Board’s 2001 complaint states.

The Medical Board placed Ashokan on probation for five years as a result of the misconduct, reads the 2001 complaint. The probationary term ended in 2006.

Ashokan also surrendered his medical license in the state of New York in 2001. He was placed on five years probation by the state of Maryland Board of Physicians starting in 2002, based on the California case of 2001. Furthermore, Ashokan surrendered his license in the state of Arizona in 2002, and in 2003 was ordered an indefinite suspension of his New Jersey medical license by the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners.

On March 7, 2019—weeks after Ashokan was arrested in Chico—an accusation against him was filed with the state Medical Board, according to the board’s website. Details of the accusation are not available on the website. No hearing has been scheduled on the accusation, and the website notes that he has not been found guilty of any charges related to the accusation.

A Hazel Hawkins spokesperson previously said the hospital cannot sanction or fire a physician based on allegations that have not yet been ruled on by a court or the state medical board.

Leave your comments