Good Morning
Good Morning
Long IslandCrime

Rakesh Punn, ex-Bethpage pediatrician, gets max in sex exploitation of patient

Former Bethpage pediatrician Rakesh Punn, shown above in

Former Bethpage pediatrician Rakesh Punn, shown above in July, 2011, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child who was a patient. Credit: Newsday File / Howard Schnapp

A former Bethpage pediatrician who admitted to the sexual exploitation of a child patient was sentenced Wednesday to the maximum of 30 years in federal prison.

As part of a plea deal reached in April 2014, Rakesh Punn, 56, also agreed to reimburse the victim and five other young female patients who were sexually abused, for any restitution to be determined by a judge, authorities said. Punn had faced a minimum of 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Punn singled out the children of poor, uneducated parents in the Indian community, sexually abusing them and taking their photographs. “I will regret to my last breath what I did to my patients,” said Punn, who is no longer registered as a doctor. “I can’t speak much at this time because I am in extreme anxiety on this day. God bless.”

His attorney, Steve Zissou of Bayside, said Punn would appeal the sentence.

Federal prosecutors Amy Larson and Allen Bode declined comment.

U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert said the case was so egregious that it was the first time she gave a defendant a maximum sentence in her 22 years on the bench.

“I can’t imagine the agony and pain that the young girls went through,” Seybert said.

In addition to the 30-year sentence, the judge ordered Punn to serve lifetime supervised release and register as a sex offender.

Eastern District U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said Punn “abused the trust of the community, parents and his patients.”

“He betrayed his oath as a licensed physician to do no harm and instead victimized children for his own sexual purposes,” Capers said in a statement.

Punn also pleaded guilty in September 2014 in Nassau County to drugging a girl in his office, then sexually abusing her, part of a long investigation that led to the federal sexual exploitation conviction, according to the Nassau district attorney’s office.

His federal sentence will run concurrent to his state sentence.

At his scheduled Jan. 15 sentencing in the state case, Punn faces 15 years in prison on two counts of criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance and first-degree sexual abuse, prosecutors said. He will have to register as a sex offender after his prison term and forfeit $2,113,994, authorities said.

In his plea in Nassau County Court, he admitted to abusing a patient, 17, in 2007. He also tricked patients into filling prescriptions for a drug used to incapacitate victims, telling them to bring back the drug so he could check it or make a compound. He’d then keep it, authorities said.

Punn also pleaded guilty in November 2012 to welfare fraud, grand larceny and other felonies for helping family, friends and patients file false applications to get Medicaid and state child health care aid, authorities said.

On those charges, he faces 1 to 3 years. That sentence will also run concurrent to the 30-year federal sentence.

Latest Long Island News