Last week's arrest of a Warr Acres gynecologist accused of sexually assaulting a sedated woman during an abortion has spurred a national women's group to set up a hot line to find women with similar stories.
Dr. Nareshkumar Gandalal Patel, 40, who operates the Outpatient Services Clinic in Warr Acres, was charged in Oklahoma County District Court last week with attempted forcible oral sodomy and sexual battery. Both are felony charges.
He was arrested after Warr Acres police investigated a woman's claims that she woke from anesthesia to find Patel trying to kiss her and fondle her while she lay nude on an operating table, court records show.
A second alleged assault is under investigation, Warr Acres police Lt. Pete Markstone said.
The National Women's Protection Association, a Washington, D.C., group fighting the victimization of women, has set up a 24-hour confidential hot line to find out whether there are others who claim they were victimized by Patel.
Despite ties that apparently link the hot line to the local Oklahoma Pro-Life Action Network, the privately funded Women's Protective Association wants to stay out of the abortion debate, said David James, the organization's secretary.
"We don't touch that issue (abortion) at all. Our interest is in women being victimized," James said. His organization includes about 40 members nationwide.
An initial call to the toll-free number by The Oklahoman reached the local Pro-Life Action Network's recording.
Surprised, James immediately called Southwestern Bell officials who set up the phone line. The phone company told him the number that led to the recording was given as a local credit reference and was mistakenly connected to the toll-free number.
He said the phone company disconnected the line and planned to correct the error today. A second call by The Oklahoman showed the number had been disconnected.
The National Women's Protection Association's local representative, who asked not to be identified because she works as an Oklahoma City nurse, confirmed James' statement that the national association does not affiliate itself with the anti-abortion cause.
However, she said she personally has been active with area anti-abortion groups.
The statewide hot line, (800) 233-5635, which is supposed to be connected today, will reach a local representative with the national association and is designed to provide women making allegations with "free legal assistance" and information about any pending lawsuits, a press release from the national association said.
Patel was released on a $100,000 bond in time for him to leave the country to attend a family member's wedding in India last week.
He is scheduled to return from the trip June 7, said his attorney, D.C. Thomas.
The doctor gained national notoriety after admitting he dumped and burned dozens of aborted fetuses in a Shawnee field in April 1992.
The physician has clinics in both Warr Acres and Shawnee. BIOG: NAME:
Archive ID: 541504