by Steven Ertelt
March 12, 2005
Bloomfield Township, MI (LifeNews.com) — A Michigan abortion practitioner charged with sexually abusing patients failed to show for a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
Rodolfo Finkelstein, a 55 year-old from Bloomfield Township, performs abortions in two locations. He faces two counts of first degree criminal sexual assault which could earn him a life term in prison.
Finkelstein has also been charged by local authorities with five other charges of criminal sexual conduct.
District Judge Kimberly Small increased Finkelstein’s bond and granted a request from Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Barbara Morrison to issue a warrant for his arrest.
"Right now, he’s a fugitive," Morrison told the Oakland Press newspaper.
Finkelstein’s lawyers gave no reason for the abortion practitioner’s absence.
Two women on whom Finkelstein had performed abortions appeared in the 48th District Court in Bloomfield Township late last month in a preliminary hearing on the charges. They were joined by a doctor and nurse.
Much of the testimony of the women was graphic and a 21 year-old who had Finkelstein perform a second trimester abortion on her described his inappropriate advances and sexual acts.
Meanwhile, a 19 year-old woman who had an abortion in January 2003 at his abortion facility says Finkelstein kissed her and squeezed her buttocks following a post-abortion examination.
She told the court that she had a late February conversation with Finkelstein’s attorneys, who told her that they would pay her $200,000 not to testify against the abortion practitioner. According to the Press news report, she indicated that Finkelstein’s attorneys told her the case wasn’t strong enough against him to hold up in court.
Finkelstein’s attorneys say the woman is confusing an offer to settle the civil lawsuit filed against him with the efforts to defend him against the criminal charges.
Finkelstein still performs abortions at the Women’s Advisory Centers in Livonia and Bloomfield Township.
Finkelstein says he is innocent and claims the alleged incidents never occurred. His attorney, Mitchell Ribitwer, challenges the truthfulness of the plaintiffs. He was previously arraigned in September before District Court Magistrate Kathleen Trott and he posted a $25,000 bond.
Police said Finkelstein made it a practice of seeing women alone for examinations and he kissed, fondled and sexually assaulted them when nurses were not around.
"Patients should be able to go to their doctor and be assured of good care," Bloomfield Township Police Chief Jeffrey Werner told the Press. "It appears this doctor took advantage of his patients, and we will do our part to hold him accountable."
There have been other recent cases of abortion practitioners sexually abusing patients.
In February 2004, abortion practitioner Ronald Stevenson, of Oregon was convicted on two counts of inappropriately touching or kissing a patient.
Stevenson cannot practice medicine in the state again unless he notifies the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners two weeks in advance and provides them with detailed information of where he will practice and what he’ll be doing.
Meanwhile, in January 2004, Arizona abortion practitioner Brian Finkel was sentenced to 34 years in prison after he was found guilty of 22 counts of sexual abuse against women who complained he touched their breasts and private parts inappropriately during abortions and examinations.