California doctor Jeffrey Joel Abrams was sentenced to just one year in jail after sexually assaulting his patients, despite a recommendation he be jailed for 20 years.
Abrams, 68, pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person, three counts of sexual battery and one count of possession of child pornography. The collection of charges amounted to a maximum of 25 years in prison.
The victims were seen by Abrams at the Volunteers in Medicine clinic in El Cajon, San Diego County, California, between June 1, 2010 and June 2014, reports NBC San Diego.
During Abrams’ sentencing on Sept. 25, defense attorneys argued that Abrams’ age, his willingness to plead guilty and his medical problems were reasons for him not to be sent to a state prison or county jail.
Alex Landon, Abrams’ lawyer, argued that Abrams had spared his victims from testifying by pleading guilty. Landon added that Abrams suffers from “life-threatening” surgical wounds from cancer surgery and is a low risk for re-offending, according to psychological tests.
Prosecutor Kerry Conway agreed that a no-custody sentence was the most “just” resolution to the case, but the 23-page probation officer’s report rejects that conclusion, suggesting new and disturbing details about Abrams’ victims.
“He used his position as a doctor to lead the victims to believe the inappropriate acts served a professional purpose,” the report notes. “It appears his actions were well calculated as some of his victims were Spanish speaking or economically disadvantaged, therefore making them less likely to report the crime.”
The report acknowledged Abrams’ medical problems, but argued that his actions were worthy of 20 years and eight months in prison instead of just probation.
On Sept. 25, two attorneys representing Abrams’ victims said their clients were satisfied with the no-custody recommendation.
“They want to show mercy on him,” Jessica Pride, one attorney, said.
Pride noted that Abrams’ victims are pleased that he must register as a sex offender is barred from practicing medicine in California. Pride noted that her clients sympathize that Abrams is ill.