York Twp. WellSpan doctor heading to trial, accused of groping 2 patients
A WellSpan physician is now facing trial, accused of sexually assaulting two patients in 2018.
Dr. Shubhra Ray, 46, of the 800 block of Nightlight Drive in York Township, never looked directly at either of the women as they testified against him at his two preliminary hearings on Thursday, Dec. 5.
His arms crossed, Ray spent most of the hearings with his head turned slightly away from the witness stand, staring at a wall. He remains on a leave of absence from his job at WellSpan Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine, 2350 Freedom Way in York Township, a WellSpan spokesman said.
After listening to the women's testimony, District Judge Scott Laird determined enough evidence exists for Ray to stand trial in York County Court. Laird set the doctor's formal court arraignment for Jan. 10.
He remains free on a total of $20,000 bail, charged with aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault for allegedly assaulting a longtime patient. He is also charged with indecent assault for allegedly assaulting a first-time patient.
The first-time patient testified she was referred to Ray by her doctor to ensure she had no breathing problems that would affect an upcoming surgery. She said she underwent testing on Sept. 24, 2018, then met with Ray the next day.
"He told me that all of my tests were normal," she said, but that he asked her to sit on the exam table so he could listen to her lungs.
'I was afraid': Ray instructed her to lift her blouse and bra, after which he used a stethoscope on various areas of her back to listen to her lungs, she said. Then, he told her to lie on the table.
"I attempted to pull down my blouse and my bra," she testified. "He told me I needed to leave (them) up. ... That was the moment I was afraid. I knew something wasn't right."
Ray put his bare hand on her left breast and cupped it, then cupped her right breast, then walked to another part of the exam room, the woman testified.
"He groped both of my breasts," she said. "I was frozen and I was scared and I was embarrassed, and I didn't understand what was happening."
She said she tried to pull her bra over her breasts and pull down her blouse, but Ray told her, "No, you have to leave (them) up."
She said she lay on the exam table for about five minutes, frozen and afraid Ray was taking photos of her or masturbating outside her line of vision. She has neck issues and couldn't turn her head to see what he was doing, she said.
The woman testified Ray told her she had no breathing issues but that he wanted her to return for another test. He then walked her to the scheduling area, where she was given an appointment card, she said, after which she went to her car.
Nonchalant? "I called my dad because I was ... so upset by what happened," she said, adding that when Ray cupped her breasts, he acted nonchalant, as if it was simply part of a regular examination.
The woman filed a complaint with WellSpan the same night, she said, adding that she received a call a few days later from WellSpan to discuss the issue.
On cross-examination by defense attorney Chris Ferro, the woman said that after the appointment, Ray appeared to trip on his words.
"To me, he was nervous, stuttering and flustered," she said.
The other woman testified she'd been seeing Ray two or three times a year since 2014 for a breathing issue.
"Every visit I was asked to unhook my bra so he could listen to my lungs," she said. "Every time, every visit."
She said she was never offered a hospital gown or privacy sheet and that Ray would use his hand to lift her breasts.
Then on March 8, 2018, Ray gave her a full breast exam after she mentioned she had a sore spot under her right collarbone, she testified.
"(Then) he pinched and pulled up on both my nipples," she said. Afterward, Ray never said anything about the sore spot or about touching her breasts, she said.
During the same exam, Ray asked if the woman was experiencing any swelling, she testified, and she told him her lower leg was swollen.
"He asked me to pull my pants down," she testified, after which he squeezed her upper leg until he worked his way to her groin area.
Underwear ripped? "He took his hand and yanked my underwear to the side," causing it to rip, the woman said. "I felt his fingers going into my vagina."
The woman said she was shocked and numb and that neither she nor Ray said anything about it.
"I was just trying to get dressed as fast as I could," she said, adding that when she had trouble hooking her bra, Ray offered to help her.
The woman acknowledged she didn't tell anyone about the encounter until the day of her Jan. 25 appointment. She said she told her daughter just prior to the appointment, then told a nurse at the practice.
"I told her what happened and asked her if she would please stay (in the exam room when Ray was there)," the woman testified.
During that appointment, with the nurse in the room, Ray listened to the woman's lungs over her shirt, she said — "no unhooking of the bra, no nothing."
'Looked uncomfortable': She said Ray's demeanor appeared to be affected by the fact that the nurse stayed in the exam room.
"He looked uncomfortable," she said. "He was wondering why she was there — that's what I thought."
Ferro told The York Dispatch that Thursday's hearings were the first step in a long process that he expects will end with Ray being exonerated. The two hearings lasted about 100 minutes, including lengthy cross-examinations of the women.
"My client categorically denies these charges," Ferro said. "Dr. Ray is an exemplary physician with an impeccable reputation, and we intend to show that these accusations are ... absolutely false."
Senior deputy prosecutor Erin Kraska declined comment Thursday.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.