Sexual misconduct case against psychiatrist Johri adjourned
By Edward Harris
December 10, 2018
UTICA — The case against a local psychiatrist accused of sexual misconduct involving patients was adjourned Monday in Utica City Court until next year.
Surendra Johri’s trial was slated to begin Monday morning, but eventually was adjourned after a motion to dismiss one of the charges was brought by the defense.
Defense attorney Christopher Pelli filed the motion after the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office had filed new charges against Johri, adjusting the date of one alleged incident from November 2017.
Court documents regarding the first victim detail two third-degree sexual abuse and two forcible touching charges for incidents taking place on Jan. 21 and April 15, 2017, at psychiatric patient sessions at Community Health and Behavioral Services in Utica.
The charges stem from allegations that Johri engaged in unwanted sexual contact with the victim’s private body areas.
In addition, he was charged with forcible touching and third-degree sex abuse of another patient — stemming from an alleged Nov. 11, 2017, incident during a patient session with another individual also at Community Health and Behavioral Services.
Johri is no longer an independent contractor at the health service center.
The original charges against Johri listed the date for the most recent allegation as Nov. 25, 2017, instead of Nov. 11. Assistant District Attorney Maria Blais said the date discrepancy was due to an investigator error, which she also said was addressed in a Dec. 6 court filing.
City Court Judge Christopher Giruzzi ruled to adjourn the trial until Feb. 4 after hearing arguments from both attorneys.
He also gave Blais until Dec. 17 to answer Pelli’s motion to dismiss the charge related to the Nov. 11, 2017, allegation. Giruzzi would then render his decision on the motion Dec. 20 in an attorney’s only meeting.
If the Nov. 11 incident is not dismissed, the district attorney’s office will move to consolidate the cases.
The cases already were consolidated once in September, but a new motion is required due to the new filing with the date change.
Johri previously was found not guilty in a June City Court trial of third-degree sexual abuse, relating to another patent’s allegations.