A former doctor in Houston found guilty of raping a sedated patient receiving treatment for a severe asthma attack doesn't have to serve a day in prison, a jury decided Friday. Shafeeq Sheikh was instead sentenced to 10 years' probation for the 2013 assault at Ben Taub hospital, the Houston Chronicle reports. Sheikh wasn't assigned to the woman's case, but entered the woman's room repeatedly after noticing her breast implants, jurors were told. Assistant DA Lauren Reeder had urged the jury of five women and seven men to remember that Sheikh used his position to sexually assault a vulnerable woman. "He sought her out. He chose her to prey on," Reeder said. Sheikh, who is married with children, claimed the encounter was consensual.
The victim, who is now 32, testified that she was weak and tethered to machines when a doctor began touching her breasts during a chest exam. She said the doctor returned repeatedly overnight, raping her on the third visit, the AP reports. Witnesses confirmed that the button she had tried to use to call a nurse for help had been unplugged. Defense lawyer Stanley Schneider argued that Sheikh, who was stripped of his medical license, had already been punished. "The dreams of a man, the childhood dream to become a doctor, were shattered by his conduct," Schneider said. "He destroyed his own dreams." Advocacy groups say they are stunned by the decision, which analysts say is unusually lenient, especially since doctors are usually held to a higher standard. (Read more hospital stories.)