Doctor guilty of sexual assault on patient 

Walter Levitsky

PEABODY — An 87-year-old former neurologist was led out of a courtroom in handcuffs Friday afternoon after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a patient 2 1/2 years ago at his Peabody practice. 

Walter Levitsky, who has already surrendered his medical license, faces up to 2 1/2 years in jail on the indecent assault and battery charge when he is sentenced on Dec. 20. 

Judge James Barretto revoked Levitsky's recognizance in the case and ordered that he be held at Middleton Jail while he awaits sentencing. 

That came after his lawyer, Joseph Mulhall, asked to delay the sentencing so that he could bring in a psychologist and, in an almost-unheard of move, file a response to a victim-impact statement by Levitsky's victim. 

A prosecutor had asked Barretto to sentence Levitsky immediately, pointing to the numerous times the victim, a professional woman in her 40s from Peabody, has already had to come to court. 

The woman was seeing Levitsky once a month to obtain a shot of Vivitrol, which curbed her dependence on alcohol. 

It took the jury of three men and three women less than 20 minutes to reject Levitsky's claim that what he did to the woman in his office on March 1, 2017, was merely a breast exam. 

"A breast exam is appropriate any time," Levitsky told jurors earlier in the day, during testimony that stretched over 2 1/2 hours, most of it a cross-examination by prosecutor Michael Varone.

Varone, in his closing argument a couple of hours later, reminded jurors of "creepy little details" Levitsky insisted on adding during his time on the stand — including comments about the woman's "attractive" hairstyle in the photo police showed him during questioning. 

"Did the defendant's testimony have the ring of truth?" Varone asked the jury, highlighting several discrepancies between Levitsky's testimony at his first trial in May, which ended with a hung jury, and his statements on the stand Friday morning. 

"Did it make sense?" Varone asked, pointing to Levitsky's explanation for asking the woman to show him her breasts. 

"He told you he did it because he was having an argument about her weight and he wanted to change the subject," Varone told the jury. Then he quoted Levitsky's testimony that "she rapidly pulled up her garments and evinced a big smile."

"Does that sound like someone trying to color the facts in a way that's better for him?" Varone asked the jury. 

"There was nothing medical about what this defendant did to (his patient) in that room that day," Varone told the jury.

Levitsky's attorney, Mulhall, hoped to convince jurors that the woman was not entirely certain what had happened — but that she had consented to it. 

"'I think something happened,'" Mulhall quoted the woman as saying to a colleague less than an hour after the incident. "We would suggest to you that's indicative of some doubt, some uncertainty." 

And, suggested Mulhall, the woman consented to having her breasts "inspected" by Levitsky when she pulled up her top at his request. 

Varone reminded the jury that there was no testimony that he ever told her he would be touching her breasts. 

Throughout his testimony, Levitsky was combative, at times interrupting both the prosecutor and his own lawyer, and even the judge, who at one point admonished him for his conduct. 

Barretto did not indicate on Friday what sentence he intends to impose on the elderly man, whose history of misconduct goes at least back to the 1970s, according to documents obtained by The Salem News. 

In 1990, as part of a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of assault and battery, after six former patients reported that he had sexually assaulted them. His medical license was revoked but later reinstated with restrictions, which were then lifted. 

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis. 

Recommended for you