Report Of Georgia Woman’s Rape May Not Be Used In Trial Of Former Casper Doctor
A report by a Georgia woman who claimed a former Casper doctor raped her will not be submitted as evidence during his sexual assault trial later this month, a judge ruled Thursday.
On Nov. 27, a woman contacted a Casper Police Department detective and said she was sexually assaulted by Paul Harnetty in a city south of Atlanta in December 2011, according to Natrona County District Court records.
Neither the state nor the police department knew of this, Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer said during the hearing before Judge Thomas Sullins.
The Natrona County District Attorney's Office immediately notified Harnetty's attorneys of the report, Schafer said.
Harnetty's attorney Don Fuller then asked the court to not allow that information to be introduced during the trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 22. Any such 404(b) evidence about Harnetty was supposed to have been filed by May, Fuller wrote in a court document. Under the Wyoming Rules of Evidence, 404(b) evidence shows "other crimes, wrongs, or acts" about motive that illustrate often unrelated bad conduct for which a defendant is not on trial.
Schafer agreed with Fuller that the recent report by the Georgia woman should not be submitted as 404(b) evidence.
However, Schafer said his office reserves the right to offer it during the trial to rebut claims by Harnetty that he was a conscientious and reputable physician in Wyoming and Georgia.
Harnetty, an obstetrician/gynecologist, is charged with eight counts of second-degree sexual assault and two counts of third-degree sexual assault. If convicted on all counts he could face between 16 and 190 years of imprisonment.
The case began in October 2015 when police received a report of three women who claimed Harnetty conducted himself inappropriately during their verbal and physical examinations. Over the next year, three more women reported such conduct according to the charging documents filed in January 2017. Harnetty was arrested in Minnesota that month.
During a 404(b) hearing last October, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri outlined the categories of the evidence showing Harnetty's abusing his position as an authority figure including that Harnetty in 1992 sexually assaulted the 11-year-old brother of a woman he was dating; sexually harassing nurses who worked for him; and improper sexual contact with patients.