BRENTWOOD : Jury Considers Rape Charges Against Doctor

The trial of a Brentwood doctor charged with sexually assaulting five women patients drew to a close this week with his attorney questioning the motives of his accusers and a prosecutor imploring jurors to believe the women.

Deliberations were to begin Wednesday.

Yahya Lavi, who works at several Los Angeles-area health clinics and who has a private practice in Brentwood, allegedly assaulted the women four years ago during office visits and was charged with several counts of rape and sexual battery.

Four of the women who testified against the doctor have since sued him for $5 million each, said Lavi's attorney, Gerald Chaleff.

He said the women made up the rape allegations because the doctor was going to stop signing workers compensation reports that allowed them to receive disability payments.

"The (prosecutor) tries to tell you all of this happens because these are very naive women, which I don't believe," Chaleff told jurors during his closing argument Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Beatrice Donohue argued that the case is about an "issue of credibility" between the defendant and the women, most of whom are Latina and speak limited English.

Three patients testified that Lavi, who is free on $200,000 bail, gave them a pill on the premise that it would ease their pain. Each woman described a similar reaction to the pill--dizziness, hot flashes and lightheadedness.

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