Two women who say they were molested by a Charlotte physician have been awarded more than $2 million by a Mecklenburg jury.
The judgment against Dr. Fidelis Edosomwan of Waxhaw came Wednesday at the close of a 2 1/2-week trial. His accusers each received $1.1 million in actual and punitive damages from the physician.
“It’s been a long, hard road for the victims, and a lot of people doubted them,” said Charlotte attorney Alex Heroy, who represented the original whistleblower in the case. “The jury stood up for victims of sexual assault.”
Edosomwan could be back in a courtroom as early as May. He was indicted two years ago on 12 sexual assault-related counts involving nine victims. At the time police said they had identified almost three dozen women, ranging in age from their 20s to their late 40s, who claimed to have been abused by Edosomwan.
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The Observer does not identify victims of alleged sexual assaults.
Edosomwan, who practiced medicine in Charlotte for more than two decades, has pleaded not guilty. On Wednesday, his attorney in the criminal case, George Laughrun of Charlotte, declined comment. At the time of his client’s indictment, Laughrun said, “Dr. Edosomwan is looking forward to his day in court, as he has been from day one.”
During the trial, other women alleging to have been assaulted by Edosomwan testified against him. During his time in the witness stand, according to Heroy, the physician maintained his innocence and said some of the opposing witnesses suffered from “#metoo syndrome.”
Edosomwan’s lawsuit attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment. In a similar lawsuit trial last year involving accusations against Edosomwan, the jurors decided that no sexual assault or battery had taken place.
Wednesday’s verdict is the latest punitive action taken against a prominent member of Charlotte’s medical community.
Last summer, two staff members of Jonathan Christenbury filed suit against the well-known eye doctor, claiming he had sexually harassed them. One of the workers said Christenbury stalked her and offered her $5,000 for sex. The suit also alleges the doctor retalliated against female employees who resisted his advances.
In November, Christenbury surrendered his license.
According to the Edosomwan lawsuit, most of the alleged assaults occurred at Americare Health Plaza, 1805 Milton Road, Charlotte, according to court documents.
Heroy’s client, the original whistle-blower, was a patient at Edosomwan’s clinic, receiving physicals and general OB/GYN checkups from 2013 to 2015, according to her complaint.
During a May 2014 visit for a routine examination, the woman said Edosomwan fondled her, then quickly left the room. She said she immediately told one of the nurses about the incident. According to the lawsuit, the woman was assured that the problem would be taken care of and that she would never be treated by Edosomwan again.
The woman said she returned to the clinic on Jan. 2, 2015, for an examination and pap smear. She said she was told by the receptionist that Edosomwan’s brother, also a doctor, would be performing the exam.
But as she undressed, Edosomwan walked into the room, the lawsuit says. The woman says that she “was overtaken with fear and shock.”
There was a nurse on hand along with the woman’s young child. When the nurse’s back was turned, the suit alleges, Edosomwan again fondled the patient. The sexually aroused Edosomwan then covered himself with his lab coat before leaving the room, according to the complaint.
The woman said she filed a complaint with the clinic and also notified police. A second woman filed a police report against Edosomwan two weeks later involving another incident.