Sexual battery charge dropped against South Florida physician

WSVN — Good news for a South Florida doctor accused of sexual battery. Criminal charges against him have been dropped after a judge questions the credibility of his accusers. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.

Dr. Manuel Abreu (in Spanish): Hello. My name is Manuel Abreu.”

Dr. Manuel Abreu was part of a busy medical practice in Palm Beach County just a few years ago. That changed after Dawn Basham told police he had touched her inappropriately during an office visit.

Dawn Basham: “But then the next thing I know, his hands are moving from wiping my knee to my upper thigh, up my butt and then up my crotch over my underwear.”

Other women came forward with more accusations of inappropriate behavior by Dr. Abreu. Among them, former patients, a medical assistant and a pharmaceutical rep.

As a result, Dr. Abreu was arrested — charged with sexual battery and battery in the Basham case. He was held on a half million dollar bond.

After months behind bars, his bail was reduced and he was released.

And now, Dr. Abreu is free of criminal charges. They were dropped by the state after a judge listened to the testimony of five women and came away doubting their stories.

He wrote, “…the court has concerns about the credibility of each of the testifying witnesses and is wary of the circumstances under which these witnesses have come forward.”

By not allowing testimony of other alleged victims, there was nothing to back up the criminal charges.

Adam Horowitz, attorney: “In this case, the judge said the other women cannot testify, and it became a ‘he said, she said’ case in which there was no physical evidence.”

Attorney Adam Horowitz represents those women in lawsuits against Dr. Abreu and his employers. He says the cases are not affected by the ruling.

Adam Horowitz: “The judge’s findings are not going to come into evidence in the civil case.”

Dr. Abreu’s’ attorney advised him not to do an interview about the case, but did send 7News a statement that points out the physician has always maintained his innocence, and that, “He is grateful that all charges against him have been dismissed and that he has been vindicated. He is also thankful to his wife, family and friends for their unwavering support and belief in his innocence.”

But he’s paid a price. While the charges were pending, Dr. Abreu filed bankruptcy and testified he was unable to find work.

IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE:
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E-mail: clue@wsvn.com
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