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Jury deliberates in physician's sex assault case

Dr. Kevin Brown, the son of the former premier of Bermuda, is accused of assaulting nearly a dozen patients.

August 12, 2011|By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
  • Dr. Kevin Brown is seen in court during closing arguments in his sexual assault trial. If convicted on all counts, he could face life in prison.
Dr. Kevin Brown is seen in court during closing arguments in his sexual assault…

Dr. Kevin Brown was a prominent South L.A. physician with an impressive international resume. He was also the son of the former premier of Bermuda.

He organized charity fundraisers at the Playboy Mansion attended by celebrities like Don Cheadle and Khloe Kardashian.

Authorities, however, allege that Brown was also a predator who sexually assaulted nearly a dozen patients, including a 15-year-old and an undercover Los Angeles Police Department officer. After a nearly three-week trial, the jury began deliberations Thursday in the case.

L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. Ann Marie Wise said Brown used his Crenshaw Boulevard practice as "his personal playground," where anyone who came in "was his prey."

Lawyers in the case painted a strikingly different portrait of the defendant, accompanied daily during his trial by his family, including his father, Ewart Brown, who also operated a South L.A. clinic before returning to Bermuda in the 1990s to become the Caribbean island's leader.

Defense attorney Edi Faal called the accusations outright lies and said authorities had a vendetta against Brown because he had previously been acquitted in two other sexual assault cases. They also allege bias because one of the women was the niece of an LAPD officer.

Prosecutors relied heavily on testimony of the alleged victims because no physical evidence was ever collected and some of the women waited years to report Brown.

Brown is charged with 29 felony counts. If convicted on all counts, he could face life in prison.

The state is also investigating Brown over allegations he was involved in healthcare fraud schemes and allegedly overprescribed the painkiller Oxycodone, according to court documents.

As details of the sexual assaults unraveled in court, it became clear that Brown's stature in the community was an issue for some witnesses.

Wise told jurors that some witnesses were reluctant to report Brown because he was a respected doctor. Prosecutors said some witnesses encouraged Brown to turn to God so his career would not be ruined.

One woman who claimed Brown kissed her and touched her inappropriately during a 2005 exam said she wrote the doctor a letter urging him to seek spiritual help. That letter was later found in her medical records and portions were read back in court.

"They gave him every opportunity to change his ways," Wise said.

But Brown's attorney insists authorities had a vendetta against the doctor and would stop at nothing to convict him.

"The trophy is Dr. Brown's head," Faal told jurors.

Faal said the LAPD launched a June 2008 undercover sting of Brown's practice because Dominique H., one of the alleged victims, was the niece of an LAPD officer.

The defense also pounced on discrepancies in the testimony of Stacey Young, an undercover vice officer who posed as a patient during the 2008 visit.

Young told jurors last week that when Brown pulled her tank top up, exposing her left breast, she pushed him away and said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa — what are you doing?" But Faal showed that the exchange was not recorded on LAPD undercover tapes of the encounter.

"This is a crime that was manufactured, not a crime that was committed," Faal said.

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