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Doctor is accused of molesting boys

Associated Press / October 7, 2009

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HAMILTON, Ohio - A pediatrician performed sex acts on three teenage patients during office visits, slipping them cash payments of about $200 as they left, a prosecutor told jurors yesterday.

Dr. Mark Blankenburg doled out money and prescription drugs to some of the patients even after they became adults, Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Lance Salyers said in opening statements at the doctor’s trial.

Blankenburg, 53, and his twin, Dr. Scott Blankenburg, also a pediatrician, are accused of sex crimes involving minors. The brother faces a trial in April.

The doctors have practiced for more than 20 years in Hamilton, a city of more than 60,000 north of Cincinnati. Authorities said the abuses date to 1987.

Salyers said Mark Blankenburg gave the patients drugs that included the anti-anxiety medications Xanax and Valium and the pain-reliever Percocet.

Defense attorney Mike Shanks told jurors there is no evidence that Blankenburg committed the sex acts. He acknowledged that Blankenburg paid money to his accusers but said that what the state has labeled as bribery was “flat-out extortion.’’

It started when a former patient with drug problems wanted money and told Blankenburg he would tell people the doctor had committed sex acts on him if he did not pay up, Shanks said. “He knew him to be a soft personality.’’

That patient says Blankenburg, who was also his Little League coach, began molesting him when he was 13 and gave him $200, Salyers said.