Originally created 08/29/98

Jury acquits doctor of sexual battery



THOMSON -- It took a jury of six women less than an hour to acquit Martinez physician Allen Lee Sloan of sexual battery charges in McDuffie County Superior Court on Friday.

Dr. Sloan had been accused of fondling the breast of a 36-year-old Dearing woman, Judy Hathcock Stewart, while examining her chest in the McDuffie County Hospital emergency room last August.

In the second day of testimony, attorneys for Dr. Sloan, Michael Garrett and Kirk Gilliard, attacked Mrs. Stewart's credibility, by introducing her medical records as evidence that she had faked seizures and other medical conditions to get attention.

Dr. Barton B. Barmore III, who testified he had treated Mrs. Stewart at his Thomson office, said medical tests from a neurologist showed no evidence her alleged seizures were real.

"That was my diagnosis, based on the neurologist's notes," he said.

Mrs. Stewart's claims against Dr. Sloan were just another attempt to gain attention, Mr. Garrett said.

The allegations against the 47-year-old anesthesiologist stem from an Aug. 8, 1997, incident in which a Thomson woman, Mary Lee Taylor, came to the emergency room complaining of chest pains.

Ms. Taylor was accompanied by her sister, Mrs. Stewart, whom Dr. Sloan noticed had a bad cough.

"In what I considered a goodwill gesture, I said, `If you like, I will listen to your lungs,"' said Dr. Sloan, on the witness stand Friday.

While examining Mrs. Stewart's breathing with a stethoscope, Dr. Sloan said he became aware of her anxiety and stopped just as the nurse entered the room.

"I'm not saying I'm clairvoyant, but I picked up something from her emotions, or her feelings, that she was uncomfortable with the exam, and I backed away like this," he said, demonstrating by holding his hands in the air.

However Dr. Sloan denied any improper touching, and angrily denied previous testimony from GBI Special Agent John Durden, who claimed the doctor admitted to becoming sexually aroused during the examination.

"I never said one word of the material that (Agent Durden) has said repeatedly these past two days," Dr. Sloan said. "I did not fondle her.... I was not aroused by my examination of that woman. I was not lying then, and I am not lying now."