Doctor's two trials are consolidated
LISBON -- A former Calcutta doctor accused of molesting two patients will have both allegations heard at a single trial.
Judge C. Ashley Pike of Columbiana County Common Pleas Court agreed Thursday to a motion to consolidate the two cases, which will be heard in a trial set for Dec. 3. Previously, separate trials were set for each offense.
Defense Atty. Lawrence Stacey II of Columbiana, sought the consolidation on behalf of his client Dr. Anil Bajaj, 39, now living near Cleveland.
Judge Pike also is considering a defense motion to have Bajaj's trial held in another county. Stacey said pretrial publicity will make it impossible to seat a fair and impartial jury.
Judge Pike said he will try first to get a jury seated before ruling on Stacey's motion.
Bajaj, who is free on bond, is accused of improper conduct with two patients from Wellsville in separate examinations that occurred July 27, 2001.
He is charged with sexual battery based on authorities' allegations that he fondled a 21-year-old woman.
He also is charged with gross sexual imposition after being accused of inappropriately touching a 36-year-old female patient.
If convicted of both offenses, Dr. Bajaj faces a maximum penalty of more than six years in prison.