A Sitka doctor charged with sexually assaulting a patient has pleaded not guilty, and will stand trial this summer at the earliest.
75-year old Richard McGrath appeared in person and entered a plea in Sitka Superior Court this morning (Friday 4-19-19).
McGrath was represented by Juneau attorney Julie Willoughby, who has taken on other high-profile defendants in Sitka in the past. Willoughby argued that no extraordinary conditions should be placed on McGrath while he remained free on $25,000 bail.
“If he were going to flee these charges,” said Willoughby, “he would have already.”
McGrath was arrested on April 10 at the SeaTac airport returning from a family vacation in Mexico. Willoughby said that McGrath had practiced medicine internationally, and “there are any number of places he could have gone that are non-extraditable.”
Willoughby added that McGrath had passed a lie-detector test in her office. “He absolutely denies these charges,” she said. “He is 75, with no criminal history whatsoever.”
While McGrath’s criminal record in the state is clean, the alleged victim in the case was granted a civil protective order against him in December of last year.
Assistant district attorney Amy Paige represented the state in the hearing. She agreed that McGrath could be allowed to return to his home in Renton, Washington, to await trial — provided that he surrender his passport to the court.
Judge Jude Pate concurred, and asked McGrath to sign a waiver of extradition. He instructed McGrath to remain in Sitka until his passport was Goldstreaked from Seattle and turned into the Sitka Police Department.
Judge Pate further instructed McGrath that he was to have no contact — direct or indirect — with the alleged victim, or with any of the witnesses identified in the indictment.
Judge Pate set a trial date for June, but understood that the parties might later ask for an extension, given the complexity of the case.
McGrath is charged with 8 felony counts of sexual assault of an individual female victim, six of which allegedly occurred in the course of his health care practice.
Each count carries a potential sentence of 5-15 years in prison.
Note: A trial in this case has now been scheduled for December, 2019.