An Indian-American doctor who was found guilty of raping a heavily-sedated patient in 2013 will not spend time behind bars in Texas.
Instead, a 12-member jury in Houston sentenced Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh, 46, to 10 years of probation.
The crime occurred while Sheikh was a resident at Baylor College of Medicine, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The 32-year-old female patient, identified as “Laura,” was at Ben Taub Hospital after an acute asthma attack.
Laura claimed that Sheikh — who was not even assigned to her case — touched her breasts in a manner she described as a sexual assault.
She added that she was heavily sedated in multiple visits.
Despite her attempts, Laura learned later that she failed to find help because her call button had been unplugged.
Sheikh managed to work at Houston Methodist Hospital before his arrest in 2015.
He confirmed that he had sex with his patient — supported by DNA evidence — but maintained that the act was consensual.
His lawyers even argued that Laura seduced him.
“The dreams of a man, the childhood dream to become a doctor, were shattered by his conduct. He destroyed his own dreams,” said Defense Attorney Stanley Schneider. “What he has done to himself and his family is punishment. They are serving his sentence with him. His children are serving his sentence with him.”
The Texas Medical Board has since revoked Sheikh’s license to practice, declaring that he posed “a continuing threat to public welfare.”
The sentence given last Friday triggered outrage on social media, with many claiming that it was too light.
Sheikh will register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
However, Laura believes that the former doctor has other victims.
“Of course, yes, and the reason I think so is because this person had everything very organized,” she told KHOU-TV.
“He abuses his authority, uses his power, easily enters and without thinking twice takes control over someone who is sick.”
For now, she wants to inspire other victims to come forward.
“I want us to value the life of a woman and understand that a rape doesn’t have social status.
“I want to inspire and motivate these woman to find the courage to talk and speak up to get out of the pain they’re in.”
Sheikh will return to court in December.