A Rancho Palos Verdes gynecologist whose 1981 rape conviction was reversed by the state Supreme Court has been found guilty a second time by a Torrance Superior Court judge.
After a five-day trial that ended last week, the gynecologist, Dr. Olufemi Ogunmola, was found guilty by Judge William C. Beverly of raping two women in Ogunmola's Torrance office in 1979 and 1980 while performing pelvic exams. The women were conscious at the time and thought they had been raped, but were not certain because a sheet was draped between them and the doctor, the prosecution contended.
Ogunmola, a native of Nigeria, acted as his own attorney during the trial, and waived his right to have a jury. Both women testified during the trial and were cross-examined by Ogunmola.
"I kind of felt angry sometimes and sometimes I felt I couldn't believe we had to go through this again and face him," said one of the women who testified. "(But) I told one person it was almost like a healing process to face him and tell him, 'You did this to me.'
"He didn't scare me," she added, referring to Ogunmola's cross-examination of her. "I don't know why. I think I was angry over what he did to me."
The woman said she decided to go to the police after she learned that at least two other women said they had been raped by the doctor.
"Going through the trial again was almost like going through the ordeal again," said the second woman who testified. "Dr. Ogunmola could stand up there almost like a third party and say, 'What exactly did the doctor do to you?' "
Ogunmola could not be reached for comment.
Free on Bail
Beverly, who declined to comment on his decision, ordered Ogunmola back to court Nov. 27 for sentencing. The 46-year-old physician has been free on bail since October.
When the state Supreme Court reversed Ogunmola's conviction last July, he had 22 days left to serve on an eight-year sentence that had been reduced for good behavior.
Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Fred Horn said he would not ask the judge to send Ogunmola back to prison for the remainder of the term, but would seek the longest probation period allowable under the law.
Ogunmola, who received his medical degree in Canada and established a private practice in Torrance in 1978, was originally found guilty of raping the two women four months after he was acquitted of two similar charges and after a mistrial was declared on a third, all involving other women.
However, Horn explained, the state Supreme Court reversed the 1981 conviction because the two women whom Ogunmola was acquitted of raping were permitted to testify at the second trial. The court ruled that the women's testimony prejudiced the jury without adding any specific facts about the crimes for which Ogunmola was on trial, he said.
'Convinced' of Guilt
Horn said the district attorney's office decided to retry Ogunmola because it "was more than convinced" that Ogunmola had committed the rapes and that, as a sex offender, his future activity should be monitored.
In addition, the prosecutor said, he felt it was important that the doctor have a conviction on his record should the state Board of Medical Quality Assurance decide to act to revoke his medical license.
Despite the 1981 conviction, Horn said, the board has not moved to revoke Ogunmola's license. However, the state attorney general's office is expected to seek an injunction to bar Ogunmola from practicing medicine until the board convenes, probably in March, he said. If the board decides to revoke the physician's license, it would have to file suit in Superior Court.