A Jewish couple has filed a suit against Catholic-affiliated St. John's Hospital of Santa Monica and a doctor there for circumcising their infant son without their consent.

In the suit, Roy and Judith Citron of Beverly Hills accused the hospital and Dr. J. David Edwards of assault and battery and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The parents said they were shocked and embarrassed when the mohel, who performs the Jewish circumcision rite, announced that the baby already had been circumcised and refused to continue with the religious service.

Mrs. Citron said she comes from an Orthodox family and her son, Gavin, "wouldn't be considered a Jew in my grandfather's eyes." She said hospital employes attempted "at least twice" to get her to sign a consent form for the circumcision of her son, but she refused.

The Citrons, who are members of a Conservative Jewish congregation, said they view the circumcision by the hospital as an assault because no permission was given for the operation. They said the suit was filed in the hope of preventing similar situations involving other Jewish babies.

Dr. Edwards said "most male infants are circumcised soon after birth," and that the Citrons "could have been willing to perform the ceremony despite the previous circumcision."