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AKRON -- Former doctor James P. Bressi, 60, of Victoria Parkway in Hudson testified Tuesday in his defense in his sexual misconduct trial.
Bressi is accused of sexually assaulting patients under his care from September 2011 to March 2013 while he was employed at Summit Pain Specialist in Stow.
The office of Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh indicted Bressi on 27 counts of sexual misconduct, which includes charges of sexual imposition, gross sexual imposition and rape. Summit County Assistant Prosecutors Margaret Scott and Brian LoPrinzi are expected to cross examime Bressi today.
Bressi's defense attorney, Michael Callahan, reviewed Bressi's education and described osteopathic medicine as a holistic approach to medicine by looking at the whole body instead of separate parts like a medical doctor and is key in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.
Bressi said he wore no gloves during his exams because he had to feel the tissue to do a variety of techniques, especially in pain management.
Bressi became the director of the pain clinic at Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital in 1994 and formed the Summit Pain Specialists in 2001 where he was seeing 5,500 patients annually. He hired Dr. Robert Geiger in 2002 but he never became a partner, Bressi said.
"I was chief shareholder," Bressi said.
Summit Pain Specialists moved to Stow in May 2010 and grew the practice to 12,000 patients. Bressi said he used Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment on 70 percent of his patients.
In court Tuesday, Bressi demonstrated his process on a patient, first examining her and then had her lie on a table where he demonstrated a variety of OMT techniques that could take between five and 15 minutes.
During the demonstration he had to touch the patient's breast in a move he called the "booby crusher" to work the neck and used his elbow in the patient's buttocks to relieve sciatic nerve pain.
The first complaint about inappropriate touching was in September 2010 and against Geiger, Bressi said. He said there were a lot of changes in employees and trouble with using electronic medical records. Bressi could not recall exact dates, but he was told patients were complaining about massage therapy, which he does not do. Geiger and an office administrator created a policy that Bressi should have a chaperone with female patients especially since he touched body parts.
"They had no authority since I owned the clinic," Bressi said.
Bressi said he would try to cooperate but had 35 to 40 patients a day and only one or two medical assistants.
"We couldn't keep up with the OMT referrals, " Bressi said.
Bressi said a staff member told him that Geiger and the staff were secretly watching him to see if he did anything inappropriately.
"They had no experience (with OMT)," Bressi said. "They didn't know what to look for."
In March 2013, Bressi was escorted out of Summit Pain Specialist by Stow police and learned the charges against him at the August 2013 indictment.
Bressi denied doing anything inappropriate with his patients and said money was involved. Geiger and Bressi have lawsuits pending against each other.
Earlier in the trial, a friend and soft tissue OMT doctor demonstrated manipulation on Callahan and said contact can be made between the doctor and patient. He said because Bressi spent less time with each patient, he had a greater chance of contact.
Five of Bressi's former patients testified how he relieved chronic pain for them and one praised him as "the best doctor I ever had."
Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing