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November 8, 2007

PLACHE CASE: Evidence could include ‘similar behavior’

Prosecutors want to introduce eight more potential victims into evidence

Attorneys for a Falls doctor accused of sexually abusing at least three young patients say the charges against him are lies.

In a hearing Thursday afternoon in Niagara County Court, a lawyer for Dr. David Plache said his defense to a 29-count indictment is the conduct he’s accused of never happened.

“We deny that (the acts of sexual abuse) did occur,” defense attorney Vincent Doyle III said. “Our defense is these events did not occur.”

Doyle was arguing against a move by prosecutors to introduce evidence at trial that Plache may have engaged in behavior similar to the charges he’s facing with at least eight other young people, six boys and two girls. The victims he is charged with abusing in this case are all young boys.

Prosecutor Richard Zucco told County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza that introducing evidence that Plache may have engaged in behavior “strikingly similar” to the crimes he’s charge with, with other young patients, was important to proving his case.

“Where the jury must determine intent, conduct that may illuminate that intent is admissible,” Zucco argued. “It’s to help the jury evaluate the defendant’s intent, to the extent that there is (the same) conduct with seven other patients and a child in a social setting. It shows this was not inadvertence or medical necessary and it shows an abnormal interest (in children).”

Doyle fired back that Plache had no intention of trying to defend himself against the abuse charges by claiming he was performing a medical procedure or had only passing contact with the victims.

“The acts alleged in the indictment are so bad, that (additional evidence of that type of conduct) would be wholly unnecessary,” Doyle said. “There is no medical justification (for what Plache is charged with). (The acts of abuse) did not occur. Medical necessity is not our defense. We have never suggested that this was a mistake. The allegations of the (victims) are fabrications.”

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