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Published: Tuesday, 3/6/2007

Dentist is freed from sex charges

Dr. Shabbir Hashim was relieved that a Lucas County judge dismissed the sexual charges that had hung over him for more than a year. Dr. Shabbir Hashim was relieved that a Lucas County judge dismissed the sexual charges that had hung over him for more than a year.

Dr. Shabbir Hashim went to his Toledo dental office yesterday no longer facing the criminal sexual charges filed against him more than a year ago.

Judge Denise Ann Dartt dismissed two counts of gross sexual imposition against the dentist in Lucas County Common Pleas Court earlier in the day.

Dr. Hashim was accused of touching two female patients while they were under anesthesia.

"Obviously, I'm relieved," Dr. Hashim said after returning to his office, Westgate Dental Arts, 3349 Executive Pkwy. "I was always confident that this would be the result."

Prosecutors initially alleged that Dr. Hashim, 45, of 6832 Appomattox Drive, Sylvania, touched the breast of two patients who were under intravenous sedation from October through Dec. 14, 2005.

Yesterday, Assistant Prosecutor Khary Hanible said that the charges were dropped after the prosecutor's office concluded its investigation.

"We have completed our investigation. At this time, we will not go forward with criminal prosecution," he said. The charges could be filed again, he added.

Mr. Hanible declined further comment on the case because there are two civil lawsuits filed against Dr. Hashim that remain active.

The investigation began in 2005 after former employees told police they witnessed the sexual contact at the dentist's office. Police searched the office in early January, 2006, seizing information on patient appointments and drug information.

Dr. Hashim, who specializes in implant and reconstructive dentistry, was arraigned in Common Pleas Court in March, 2006.

Defense Attorney Jerome Phillips said his client did not lose the support of his patients or staff during the yearlong criminal proceeding.

Mr. Phillips said he intended to bring a jury to Dr. Hashim's office to show how it is open and full of windows, and that any misconduct would have been viewed by more witnesses than those who made the accusations.

"This does taint him even though the charges are dismissed. He has to live with that," Mr. Phillips said. "He was somewhat painted with the brush of the criminal justice system."

Dr. Hashim, who has practiced locally since 1994, still faces two civil lawsuits filed late last year by two female patients alleging that they were fondled by the dentist during oral surgery.

In one lawsuit, a girl and her mother are seeking damages in excess of $25,000 for emotional distress and psychological injuries.

A second suit claims Dr. Hashim "took undue liberties" with the plaintiff on Nov. 28, 2005, while she was under anesthesia for surgery at the dental clinic. She is asking the court to award her more than $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Neither plaintiff's attorney could be reached for comment yesterday.

Demosthenes Lorandos, a New York-based attorney who said he is helping defend Dr. Hashim against the civil suits, said there would be additional "court proceedings" filed to help the dentist regain his reputation.

"Truth be told, he had to work overtime to make up for what this did to his practice," he said. "It caused stress to him and his staff and some people stayed away because of this terrible situation."

- Erica Blake

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