Saved Stories – None: Boston doctor pleads not guilty in sexual harassment case

A Boston doctor pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of indecent assault and battery after a colleague accused him of inappropriate texts and touching.

Dr. Joseph Acra, a psychiatrist at Arbour Counseling Services, is being charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery. Acra is accused of groping a female coworker on the buttocks and breasts, and of sending her texts saying “I need this” and “we have a connection I have never felt before,” according to court documents. She allegedly told him to go away.

Acra actively denies this, his lawyer said the matter was investigated in the hospital and never should have made it to court.

“He isn’t responsible, this is a man who has never even had a violation in his life,” said Acra’s lawyer Norman Zalkind.

Documents said the woman was friendly with the suspect but starting in February 2019, he began “speaking inappropriately towards her.” It alleged on multiple occasions in March, he pulled her in for a hug, touching her buttocks before she pushed him away. He also attempted to kiss her more than once.

“The concern is that it’s 2019 and there has been so much information out there with … massive movements to make clear that this behavior is unacceptable and is a serious offense,” said the woman’s lawyer, Wendy Murphy.

“Everybody has a right to work in an environment free of sexual assault and sexual harassment,” she added.

Acra will be back in court June 26 for pretrial. Under his bail conditions, he can’t contact the woman. Her attorney issued a statement on the woman’s behalf: “I am grateful to the Boston Police Department and relieved that the investigation resulted in serious criminal charges.”

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