LAS CRUCES – Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D’Antonio on Friday announced that Robert Woody, 65, of Chaparral, was convicted of one count of criminal sexual contact, a misdemeanor-level offenses.
Deputy District Attorney Daniel Sewell and Assistant District Attorney Heather Chavez prosecuted the case on behalf of the State.
Woody, a licensed neurologist with a Las Cruces practice, was charged with groping three of his male patients against their will. During the trial, the victims testified that Woody asked them about their sexual activity and orientation. Woody also stood accused of kissing the patients on the neck, caressing their chests and fondling their groin areas.
Detective Jeffrey Kuepfer investigated the case for the Las Cruces Police Department.
In two separate indictments, a Las Cruces grand jury charged Woody with a total of four counts of first-degree kidnapping and three misdemeanor counts of criminal sexual contact. However, District Judge Douglas R. Driggers on Thursday dismissed the four felony kidnapping counts, finding that the facts of the case do not meet the elements of kidnapping under state law, and that the kidnapping was “incidental” to the underlying offense of criminal sexual contact.
The jury acquitted Woody on one count of criminal sexual contact, and the jury was unable to reach a verdict on a third count of criminal sexual contact. A mistrial was declared due to manifest necessity on that sole count.
“This defendant took advantage of patients who trusted him to provide care for their medical issues,” D’Antonio said. “I genuinely hope that today’s outcome gives the victims in this case some closure. I applaud the courage of the victims who came forward and testified, helping to assure that Dr. Woody will be held accountable for his inappropriate and criminal behavior.”
The Las Cruces jury deliberated for more than seven hours Friday before returning a verdict.
Sewell said the state intends to ask for the maximum sentence of 364 days in jail, and requested that Woody be held without bond pending sentencing. Driggers denied the state’s request, and released Woody pending trial on a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond and standard conditions of release.
Information from Third Judicial District Attorney's office