The Yorkville physician accused of sexually abusing some of his female patients walked free Monday afternoon after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.
As part of the agreement with special prosecutor Lorinda Lamken announced Monday in court before Judge Timothy McCann, Dr. Haohua Yang pleaded guilty to three felony aggravated battery charges. The charges come with 12 months of probation and 180 days of jail time, but Yang, who has been held in the Kendall County Jail in Yorkville without bond since April 2015, received credit for time served.
Sixteen of Yang’s female patients at his former practice in Yorkville accused Yang of touching them inappropriately during exams. Two of his accusers, and the mother of one accuser who was a minor when the alleged abuse occurred, testified during court proceedings Monday.
The mother told the courtroom her daughter now suffers from anxiety, depression and a fear of men due to the alleged abuse.
One alleged victim said she lost interest in a career in the medical field because of her experience with Yang.
“This has affected me in more ways than I can even count,” the woman said.
McCann acquitted Yang of some of the charges in a January bench trial. Both the lead prosecutor and the defense team, however, were different for Yang’s most recent court case.
Lamken, who works as part of a special prosecution unit for the Illinois Office of the State’s Attorneys Appelate Prosecutor, was assigned to the case in August at the request of State’s Attorney Eric Weis following the departure of his first assistant state’s attorney to a private firm that had represented Yang in the past.
Former prosecutor Nemura Pencyla left his position with Weis’s office at the end of August and took a job with the private law firm of Ekl, Williams, and Provenzale. Pencyla was the lead prosecutor during Yang’s January trial and Terry Ekl was Yang’s defense attorney during that trial. Ekl and co-counsel Terence P. Gillespie later withdrew as Yang’s defense attorneys and Bob and Alison Motta of Aurora took over Yang’s defense.
The remainder of the 28 sex-related charges in total were dismissed Monday as part of the plea agreement.
Yang will be able to travel outside the country as part of the plea agreement, as long as he notifies his probation officer, Lamken said. Yang was caught while he was out on bail attempting to enter China in 2015. Authorities stopped him at O’Hare International Airport and after the incident he was held without bond in jail.
Since he is now a convicted felon, Yang most likely won’t be able to practice medicine in Illinois again. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation suspended Yang’s medical license when he was charged in December of 2014.
The state’s Medical Practice Act states that the agency “may revoke, suspend, place on probation, reprimand, refuse to issue or renew, or take any other disciplinary or non-disciplinary action as the department may deem proper” if a physician pleads guilty to “any crime that is a felony.”
After the court proceedings, defense attorney Alison Motta discussed the outcome with a group of Yang’s supporters, including former patients, outside of the courtroom. Motta said they agreed to the plea deal because while she said prosecutors had a weak case, prosecutors told them other charges could be filed.
“Other charges could keep coming and coming,” she said. “Dr. Yang has very elderly parents; his mom’s health is bad. He’s spent a lot of time in jail, and he wants to get back to his life and his family.”
Asked about the victims’ statements, Motta said they received “medical misinformation.”