A La Plata internist received a criminal summons Thursday to appear in court next month to answer charges that he sexually assaulted two patients at his White Plains medical office, according to the Charles County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said Waheed U. Akthar, 54, assaulted the female patients in October and this month by fondling their breasts and kissing the two young women after they came to him seeking treatment for minor ailments.
Akthar, who has practiced medicine in White Plains for 14 years and continues to see patients, said in an interview that he is innocent and that he was merely performing breast exams on the women as part of physical examinations they had requested.
Akthar was ordered to appear in Charles County District Court on July 19 for a preliminary hearing. The doctor said he intends to plead not guilty at the hearing.
"It's not true," Akthar said from his office Friday, adding that he was "shocked" at the allegations and the summons. "It's not fair."
Akthar, a 1974 graduate of Osmania University in India who did postgraduate training in Chicago and Jacksonville, Fla., was charged with two counts each of second-degree assault and fourth-degree sex assault.
If convicted, Akthar faces a combined maximum penalty of 22 years in prison and a $7,000 fine, according to the summons.
Authorities allege that a 21-year-old patient went to Akthar's office at the White Plains Medical Center on Oct. 27 complaining of a cold.
During a physical exam, Akthar fondled the woman's breasts, according to the summons.
Authorities also charge that Akthar kissed the woman on her neck and shoulder.
On June 3, when another 21-year-old woman went to Akthar's office to be treated for poison ivy on her ankles, Akthar "thrust his hands under her bra" and fondled her and kissed her on her back and buttocks, the charging papers allege.
The statement of charges says that the woman, who had been a patient of Akthar's for two or three years, was familiar with how a breast exam is performed because she had received several from her gynecologist and that Akthar's actions were not an exam.
"Akthar simply grabbed her breasts and fondled them," the charging document states.
Both women did not immediately file complaints, but they left the office feeling that something was amiss, said Charles County Sheriff's Detective Jay Budd.
"They were pretty much confused," Budd said. "They're leaving there, thinking, 'I don't think that was right.' " The Washington Post generally does not name the victims of alleged sexual assault.
Akthar said that the allegations are false and that a nurse chaperone was in the room during the examinations.
He also said that the woman who claims she was fondled and kissed June 3 suffers from depression, which he suggested could have led her to make up the story.
He said he could not understand why the second woman had a similar story.
"These girls -- I don't know what's wrong with them," Akthar said.
In their investigation, detectives found that three other patients, from 17 to 28 years old, reported similar incidents, according to the sheriff's office.
"The females describe Dr. Akthar's fondling of their breasts as grabbing and squeezing. During some of the contacts, Dr. Akthar has made verbal comments which the women described as being inappropriate," the statement of charges says.
No charges have been filed in those cases because the 12-month statute of limitation has expired, according to the sheriff's office.
Detectives are nevertheless urging anyone who believes she may have been assaulted by Akthar -- regardless of when -- to contact them at the La Plata district station, 301-932-2222.
Officials at the Baltimore-based Maryland Board of Physicians said that Akthar is still licensed to practice medicine and that his license would not automatically be revoked unless he is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.
The board's Web page shows that no disciplinary action has been reported against Akthar in the past 10 years.