A Covington doctor was arrested after two patients reported that he touched them inappropriately during medical treatment, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
General practitioner Muhammad Abassi, 42, of Conyers, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of simple battery, according to NCSO Lt. Bill Watterson. Abassi bonded out Thursday afternoon.
"There were allegations from two victims that there was inappropriate touch and contact when they went in to get medical treatment," said Watterson.
The victims, a 24-year-old and 62-year-old female patients who reportedly did not know each other, came to deputies about two separate incidents - one in late 2007 and one in 2008, Watterson said.
He said no charges were raised against other doctors in the clinic and investigators are seeking individuals who may have more information or may have also been victims.
Abassi's attorney, Paul Oeland, of LaMalva and Oeland in Conyers, said the doctor "denies wholeheartedly all the allegations." Oeland pointed out one of the victims had brought similar charges earlier this year, which were declined in Newton County magistrate court because she did not appear for court date, he said. He added that the 24-year-old had run a debt with Abassi's clinic before the charge arose.
"It's a misunderstanding; it's nothing," said Abassi, when contacted at his clinic, Alliance Family Care. "I can't go into it further... but when it comes to light, everybody will know."
Abassi began the clinic in 2003 after a medical residency in Mount Sinai Queens, N.Y., and a medical degree in Pakistan, according to his clinic's Web site. He moved to the Atlanta area for an Emory fellowship in rheumatology.
Watterson said there are steps patients can take if they have concerns and want to protect against unwanted incidents.
"We recommend that if a woman is going in, to have a female nurse in with the doctor," he said. "If they feel uncomfortable, they should ask the nurse to step in or take a friend or family member with them."
He emphasized that there are many professional, reputable doctors in the field. "There are very reputable doctors out there. They do follow these procedures," he said.
The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the NCSO Criminal Investigations Division at (678) 625-1400 or leave anonymous tips at (678) 625-5007 and online at www.newtonsheriff.ga.org.