A San Diego-area doctor has admitted to sexually assaulting and taking naked photographs of female patients while treating them at the only free health-care clinic in the East County.
Jeffrey Joel Abrams pleaded guilty on July 30 to eight counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person, three counts of sexual battery and one count of possession of child pornography, Deputy District Attorney Kerry Conway said last week.
Abrams, 68, was arrested in November after a state investigation found more than 1,300 explicit photos of women on his phone. One of the photos discovered by investigators on Abrams’ work cell phone was of an 8-year-old girl.
According to a search warrant obtained by PEOPLE, investigators also found a video of a female patient touching herself while in the exam room with the doctor.
In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, one patient told investigators she visited Abrams in January complaining of belly button pain. The woman, who was uninsured, said the doctor told her to take her clothes off and then inserted his gloved finger into her vagina, asking, “You have pain?”
“He then proceeded to take a photo of her, without permission,” lawyer Jessica Pride, who represents 10 of 12 anonymous victims in civil cases against the doctor, tells PEOPLE.
In the wake of the plea, the State Medical Board has temporarily suspended Abrams’ medical license, which he has held since 1974, NBC San Diego reports. He was also ordered to surrender his passport.
Pride says the victims are “elated” with Abrams’ guilty plea and “thankful” for the hard work done by detectives and the district attorney.
“It’s fantastic,” Pride says of the news. “When Jane Doe 1 came to me [in January 2014], it was ‘he said, she said’ and we didn’t have any evidence.”
She adds: “Because of the amazing work by the detectives, we ended up finding out about other victims and helped these women find a voice and make a difference in their lives as well as stop him.”
And though the civil cases brought against Abrams still aren’t done, the women will no longer have to feel alone and afraid once the doctor is sentenced in the criminal case. He faces probation to more than 25 years in prison.
“He could have gone on for years,” Pride says.
Steve Gnau, who represents the minor featured in one of the explicit photos, says he and his client “are relieved.”
Sentencing for Abrams will take place in September.
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