BY JOE KUHN
Kristina Wodicka seemed remarkably composed during her testimony last Wednesday as she calmly and categorically denied the sexual abuse charges leveled against her by a former patient. Wodicka stands accused of eight counts of sexual abuse in the third degree and one count each of forceful touching and endangering a child. Her alleged victim is a teenage girl who originally sought treatment from the chiropractor and N.E.T. therapist for “body image issues.”
The alleged abuse began in September of 2014 when the accuser was referred to Wodicka’s practice by her mother, herself a patient of the chiropractor since 2010. Between October 2014 and February 2015 the girl regularly attended appointments at Wodicka’s office during which she alleges the doctor engaged in escalating abusive behavior. The trial is now going on its third week.
During cross examination, Dr. Wodicka testified that her patient, whose name is being withheld, suffered no abuse while being treated and even suggested that the teenager may be using her as “scapegoat” for abuse she suffered from an unidentified third party. Wodicka also said that the detective in charge of her case, James Coyle, had “lied” during key parts of his testimony and misrepresented their conversation.
Wodicka had spoken to the detective the day before her 2016 arrest, seeking advice on how to respond to the accusations that were being leveled against her. Though Detective Coyle has testified that Wodicka admitted to “crossing boundaries” during her treatment of the victim, Wodicka denies every saying so. Detective Coyle had also testified that Wodicka had provided a physical description of the girl during their conversation and that the doctor admitted that “(I) shouldn’t have been treating her” due to her own personal problems. Wodicka denied both claims.
Mahmoud Rabah, the defendant’s attorney has centered his defense on the mental state of the accuser, who was being treated for a number of mental health problems at time of her visits.
The prosecution unearthed some discrepancies in the doctor’s own testimony. Wodicka asserted that she never sought a meeting outside of her office with the patient. The prosecution produced an email sent by the defendant to the patient’s mother inviting both of them to go to a movie with the doctor and her own daughter. Both Wodicka and the mother of the alleged victim have stated that they had a friendly relationship before the allegations of abuse were made and had spent time outside of the office together with their daughters.
The prosecution, led by Stephanie Schera, a senior assistant prosecutor of the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, also pointed out an inconstancy between Wodicka’s handwritten notes that were taken during one examination and the typed version that was transcribed at a later date. In her original account of that examination, Wodicka recorded that she was alone in the room with the patient, the later record mentions that one of her medical assistants was with her for part of the session.
Both of Wodicka’s medical assistants and her ex-husband Dr. Kenneth Zatz testified that it was common place for medical assistants to walk into the exam rooms while the doctor was seeing a patient. Dr. Zatz, who shared the office with Wodicka also testified “that the walls were paper thin” and that he nor any of the other staff ever heard anything that would lead them to believe physical abuse was occurring in the office.
Wodicka’s trial continues on Thursday, May 30 and is expected to conclude this week.