State finishes prosecution, Bressi planned to take stand

Witness daughter testifies, 'She didn't want to go back to him'

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Akron -- The prosecutors rested the state's case Aug. 18 against former doctor James P. Bressi of Hudson, who is charged with 27 counts against 11 victims of alleged sexual misconduct, which includes rape. Bressi has expected to testify Aug. 19.

Bressi, 60, of Victoria Parkway, is accused of sexually assaulting patients under his care from September 2011 to March 2013, while employed at Summit Pain Specialists in Stow. Bressi pleaded not guilty on all charges.

The trial began with two of the victims testifying Aug. 14 and another eight the next day in Judge Tom Parker's court room at the Common Pleas Court in Summit County.

Summit County Assistant Attorneys Margaret Scott and Ryan LoPrinzi are prosecuting the case for the Summit County Prosecuting Attorney's office and called their final five witnesses on Aug. 18.

A woman who testified, 77, testified she had a broken tail bone from a fall in her driveway in 2005 and began to go to Bressi in 2007 for injections, or nerve blocks. On March 2, 2012, instead of a nurse coming to her in the recovery room, which was normal, she testified, Bressi entered and massaged her back.

"This was the first time after a nerve block. It was the first time for a massage," she said.

She testified he moved her hand to his genitals, and she moved her hand back. He repeated the action and held her hand tight the third time.

"He said he was going to massage my tail bone," she said. "I don't know why. He put his finger in my rectum. It hurt real bad. I asked him to stop, but he wouldn't."

The victim didn't report it until she saw on TV that Bressi had been arrested, she testified.

"I thought I was the only one," she said.

Although she later saw nurses at the Stow offices of Summit Pain Management, she testified she did not see Bressi again until that day.

Bressi's attorney Michael T. Callahan showed the victim her charts which showed osteopathic manipulation therapy by Bressi took place on Feb. 17, 2012.

"I'm telling you he did not do this [therapy]," the victim said.

Her daughter testified that she was in the examination room with her mother on March 2, 2012, and she could not see Bressi's hand because it was under a blanket and thought her mother's protest was because of the pain.

"I saw his facial expression and had to look away," the daughter said. "I didn't know what was going on."

Her mother told her about the incident in the car going home and was bleeding from the rectum.

"She was scared," her daughter testified. "She didn't want to go back to him."

Callahan questioned the accuracy of medical records and the side effects of the drugs used on the patients.

Tricia Kay, a registered nurse who worked in the procedure and recovery rooms at the Summit Pain Management office from 2010 to 2012, testified she noticed a change in Bressi in the fall of 2010.

"His clothes were wrinkled, hands dirty, and he smelled," Kay said. "It seemed strange and out of character. He was always clean and neat."

She reported her concerns to the other doctor in the office and the office manager.

Patti Herink, a registered nurse, worked at Summit Pain Management for four years at the Stow location. She testified that she noticed a change in Bressi's appearance as well. A policy was initiated that female patients needed to have a female chaperone with Bressi in 2012.

Herink was in the office when the jury and court officials visited Aug. 14.

"He [Bressi] flipped me the bird when he was leaving," Herink testified.

Detective Jeff Swanson took the stand and testified about investigating the case, which began May 15, 2012, when Police Officer Steven Green took a report from a victim. Swanson interviewed more than 120 people in the investigation.

"There was no physical evidence present, so it fell back on witness statements," Swanson testified.

Callahan produced a videotape of an interview of Swanson and another police officer with a woman who had seen Bressi 29 times in a five-month period, often late in the day and without an appointment.

On the more than 16-minute video, the woman reacted to Swanson's questions with resistance and disbelief. She did not admit any consensual relationship with Bressi when Swanson asked her about it.

At one point on the video interview, Swanson raised his voice.

"This is not a joke," he said. "You don't understand how serious this is."

The woman excused her laughter as a personality trait.

"That's me all over the place. That's my personality," she said.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

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