[Watch previous FOX 8 I-Team coverage in the player above.]
This week, lawyers for Dr. Omar Massoud said he wanted to change his pleas to not guilty by reason of insanity and he wanted a competency evaluation.
So Massoud’s attorneys filed an appeal. Cuyahoga County’s court of appeals issued an opinion, writing, “the court did something that it could not do.”
The appeals court also ordered Massoud released from jail and allowed back out on bond.
“Without statutory authority, the trial court has improperly ordered petitioner detained without bail and without any justification under the law. Such confinement is unlawful,” reads the opinion.
Late last year, the I-Team revealed the doctor had been indicted on sex charges accusing him of groping patients during exams.
Marcus Sidoti, a defense attorney representing the doctor said in a statement:
A judge’s power to order a person into jail cannot be taken lightly. It is a power that the community trusts will be done fairly, properly and within the boundaries of the law. Judge Shirley Saffold violated that trust and her judicial duties when she ordered the immediate and unjustified incarceration of Dr. Massoud without bail. Thankfully, the Court of Appeals refused to allow this injustice to stand and acted swiftly to order his release. Allowing this unlawful judicial action to stand would have denigrated the entire system. Every time a judge acts, the community trusts that they will follow the law. It is unfortunate that resources had to be utilized unnecessarily on remedying this situation, but I look forward to focusing now on the continued representation of my client.Attorney Marcus Sidoti
Months ago, a victim sat down with us to reveal how she found the courage to come forward. She also wondered if there could be more victims.
Cuyahoga County prosecutors indicted Massoud, a specialist focusing on the digestive system.
Late last year, the Cleveland Clinic fired him after multiple women went to police saying he groped them during visits to his office.
One woman opened up to the I-Team saying, “Initially, I just made a decision not to go back to see the doctor.
“I felt like I was kinda gonna be OK, but I wasn’t,” she added.
Ultimately, she filed a complaint with the hospital and a police report.
We asked her to explain why she believes it’s important for her and any other woman to come forward in a situation like this.
“It’s important so that it doesn’t continue to happen. I just didn’t want anybody else to go through what I had went through,” she said.
The indictment indicates the doctor molested three victims. It shows the crimes happened during a period of more than six months.
Attorneys Brandon Duber and Todd Gurney have been pursuing a civil lawsuit against the Cleveland Clinic.
“There’s a criminal aspect, but there’s civil liability here,” said Duber, managing partner with Bentoff and Duber.
When the story broke, we reached out to the Cleveland Clinic for comment. It referred us to a statement that read:
Cleveland Clinic is strongly committed to protecting the rights and safety of our patients, visitors and caregivers from any type of inappropriate behavior. We have processes for employees and patients to report any concerns, which are then thoroughly investigated.
We immediately reported the accusations to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and are fully cooperating with the investigations. Following a thorough internal investigation, this physician has been terminated.
We care deeply about patient safety and any form of misconduct is not tolerated.Statement from Cleveland Clinic