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A Lackawanna County jury Thursday acquitted a former Carbondale surgeon of assaulting a Philadelphia woman he took on a date, but the trial judge convicted the doctor of harassment.
The jury deliberated a little more than an hour before returning the not guilty verdict in favor of John E. Then Judge Vito Geroulo found the doctor guilty of harassment, which carries a fine.
Dr. Crews, formerly of Richmond, Va., patted his lawyer, Chris Powell, on the back as the jury verdict was read.
Prosecutor Gene Riccardo said he was pleased Dr. Crews was found guilty of harassment but lamented that “the city (of Scranton) let her down.” Mr. Riccardo said the biggest problem in the case was the long delay in filing charges, and said jurors told him that was one of the factors that weighed in their decision.
Mr. Powell disagreed.
“The guy was innocent,” Mr. Powell said, adding, “I don’t know what he meant by that,” when he was asked about Mr. Riccardo’s remark about the city.
Dr. Crews was charged with assaulting Chataun Porch on May 28, seven months after the alleged attack Oct. 11, 2008 in the parking lot of the Wizard Car Wash in the 600 block of Moosic Street.
When Scranton police responded to her 911 call from a pay phone on Moosic Street, Ms. Porch said she told police she wanted to press charges against Dr. Crews, whom she said kicked and choked her, then left her in the car wash parking lot. Police tracked down Dr. Crews at the nearby Radisson Lackawanna Station hotel, where he had paid for a room for Ms. Porch.
The next day, a Saturday, Ms. Porch said she called Scranton police from the hotel and spoke to an officer.
“I told him I woke up and have bruises on my body, and asked ‘should I come down (to the station),” she said. “He said nothing could be added to the report.”
She said the officer was “pretty nonchalant about it. He told me that twice.”
Mr. Riccardo, who heads the district attorney’s office’s domestic abuse unit, said that should not have happened.
“Looking back, she should have access (to the police) when she called (on Saturday),” Mr. Riccardo said.
After the trial, Ms. Porch said, “I just don’t think it was taken seriously at the time of the incident. They just didn’t do what I thought the police should have done.”
Efforts to reach Police Chief David Elliott were unsuccessful Thursday.
Mr. Powell said there was nothing preventing Ms. Porch from simply going to the police station. Though Ms. Porch does not know the area, Mr. Powell noted that the day after the alleged attack she traveled to Dr. Crews’ apartment.
Although the police never took pictures of the bruises, Ms. Porch did and they were presented as evidence during the day and half long trial.
Five months after the alleged assault, the case was assigned to Scranton Det. Jeffrey Jones, who filed simple assault and harassment charges against the doctor three months later.
Mr. Powell said Dr. Crews is employed in southeastern Pennsylvania, where “he is in charge of wound care for physicians in the Philadelphia area.”.