Trial Starts Today for Abortionist Accused of Sexual Abuse

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 18, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Trial Starts Today for Abortionist Accused of Sexual Abuse

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 18, 2003

Phoenix, AZ ( — The trial of a Phoenix abortion practitioner who allegedly sexually abused women before and during examinations and abortions was set to begin Monday. Brian Finkel has been charged with 67 counts of abusing 35 women since 1986.

At least one victim was going under anesthesia when she said Finkel fondled her private parts, prosecutors say. Finkel has repeatedly denied the charges.

If convicted, seven of the counts are so severe that Finkel could be behind bars from five to fourteen years for each count on which he is convicted.

Richard Gierloff, Finkel’s attorney, has said the number of charges is too many and could easily bias a jury. He says his client will be denied a fair trial. Regardless of the outcome, the case will likely be appealed based on this accusation.

Judge Jeffrey Cates of Maricopa County Superior Court granted a motion by Gierloff to try each charge separately, but prosecutors successfully persuaded Cates to hold one trial covering all of the abuse charges.

Gierloff says his accusation is proven by the fact that eight of the ninety-three potential jurors were excused because they said the umber of counts against Finkel makes them feel he is already guilty prior to the trial.

Jurors will be faced with what prosecutors say is an "avalanche" of evidence.

Prosecutor Blaine Gadow has 53 witnesses, including suspected victims and former staffers of Finkel’s Metro Phoenix Women’s Clinic abortion business.

Cynthia Romo, a former employee, says Finkel was often alone with patients during examinations, despite reports to police to the contrary. She says Finkel claimed he would look forward to exams of women with large breasts.

Another witness, Finkel’s personal trainer Frankie Segal, is expected to testify that Finkel told him he touched his "patients’ breasts and private organs outside the realm of medical practice," according to court records obtained by the Arizona Republic.

Finkel developed quite a reputation prior to his latest legal problems.

He was frequently one of the only abortion practitioners to routinely conduct interviews. He often brags about performing more than 20,000 during his career. He’s known for flaunting his bulletproof vest and carrying around guns everywhere — including in exam rooms.

Finkel has been charged before with sexual abuse by other women.

He calls the law firm who ‘got him off’ from 27 of the 30 complaints to the state medical board (complaints ranged from women who said Finkel "felt them up" to negligence), "the eight gnawing Jews."

In interviews, Finkel has regularly shown contempt and disdain for the women who have filed the complaints.