BOSTON (AP) — A Boston doctor was found not guilty Wednesday of a charge of performing lewd acts near a 14-year-old girl on an airplane after a three-day trial in Boston federal court.
Lawyers for Dr. Sudipta Mohanty, 33, said more than a dozen passengers in seats near Mohanty and flight attendants serving the passengers said they saw nothing consistent with the accusation During the flight.
Mohanty said the prosecution and trial have been incredibly difficult for him and his family for a crime he did not commit.
“My fiancé was sitting next to me on that flight, and neither of us can understand why this happened to us,” he said in a written statement. “I have dedicated my life to caring for others as a doctor, and it has been heartbreaking to walk away while I faced these false accusations.”
Mohanty opted for a bench trial, meaning his acquittal was by a judge, not a jury. He had been charged with lewd, indecent and lewd acts on board an aircraft.
Investigators had said Mohanty was a passenger on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to Boston in May 2022 with a female companion and was seated next to a 14-year-old girl traveling with her grandparents, who were sitting nearby.
About halfway through the robbery, investigators said, the 14-year-old girl said she noticed Mohanty had covered himself with a blanket up to his neck and his leg was bouncing.
Shortly after, the juvenile said the blanket was on the floor, no longer covering Mohanty, and that Mohanty was masturbating, according to prosecutors. The minor moved to an empty seat in another row. After arriving in Boston, she informed her family members and the police were notified.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said he was disappointed with the outcome, but he respects the verdict.
“Our office has no reservations about pursuing this matter.” Our office will remain committed to supporting victims, particularly minor children. It is critical that victims know that they can come forward, that they will be heard and fully supported by our office,” Levy said in a written statement.
Mohanty’s lawyer, Claudia Lagos, said the accusations were devastating.
“Dr. Mohanty is a talented and dedicated physician. He has absolutely no history of wrongdoing,” she said in a statement. “The last six months have been a bizarre nightmare for him, and he is relieved that it is finally over so that he can rebuild your life.”
Mohanty faced a sentence of up to 90 days in jail, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $5,000.
Mohanty, of Cambridge, worked as a physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The hospital said last year that he no longer practiced at the hospital.