The district attorney’s office has decided not to refile charges against a Newport Beach neurosurgeon who had been accused of child molestation and unlawful videotaping.
Deputy Dist. Atty. William L. Evans said Thursday that the decision was based on a Superior Court judge’s ruling that the videotapes may not be used in court without the patients’ permission.
Dr. Francis J. Williams, 64, was arrested in November and charged with molesting several female patients. At his preliminary hearing in February, a Municipal Court judge dismissed the charges, citing lack of evidence and credibility problems with a teen-ager who testified against Williams.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge David O. Carter ordered police to return videotapes which Williams made during patient examinations, reportedly to protect himself against malpractice suits. The judge said patient privacy was of primary importance.
“My understanding is that he (Judge Carter) cited doctor-patient privilege,” Evans said. “But in the evidence code it says there is no doctor-patient privilege in a criminal case. But that’s part of the judicial process. Judges get to make decisions, and we have to live with them.”
Williams would not comment on the case. But his attorney, Byron K. McMillan, said the district attorney’s decision “should have been made 4 months ago.”