A New York City doctor has been charged with allegedly drugging and filming himself sexually assaulting and raping multiple women, including patients in his care.
Gastroenterologist Zhi Alan Cheng, 33, was arraigned on a 50-count indictment Monday for charges related to the alleged rape of three women at his Astoria, Queens apartment and the sexual abuse of three patients at New York-Presbyterian Queens hospital where he worked between June 2020 and December 2022.
Cheng was originally arrested and terminated from his position in December after a woman reported him to police for allegedly drugging and raping her at his apartment. The new indictment, announced by Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, also accuses Cheng not only of drugging women in order to rape and sexually assault them, but filmed himself committing the acts.
These videos were recovered by investigators after one alleged victim discovered the recordings in Cheng’s apartment, which included a recording of herself and other women being assaulted, according to the statement released by District Attorney Katz’s office.
Authorities also said investigators discovered narcotics, including fentanyl, ketamine, cocaine, LSD and MDMA and sedatives used in hospitals, such as propofol and sevoflurane, when searching Cheng’s apartment.
The evidence listed by the D.A.’s office includes video of Cheng at the hospital groping a 19-year-old patient, a “seriously ill” 47-year-old patient and engaging in sexual intercourse and abuse with women at his apartment, all of whom were unconscious and sedated.
While he is currently being charged based on video evidence depicting the abuse of six women, the D.A. alleges that further video evidence indicates Cheng assaulted a number of other women in Westchester County, Manhattan, Las Vegas, in and around San Francisco and Thailand.
Cheng’s lawyer did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Civil suits filed against Cheng’s employers
Two legal firms, Liakas Law, P.C. and Slater Slater Schulman LLP, filed a civil suit related to the case against the New York and Presbyterian Hospital and New York-Presbyterian/Queens in June, alleging that Cheng’s employers failed to take proper action to address and prevent further abuse. The firms filed on behalf of Cheng’s 19-year-old victim, who alleges that she complained to the hospital in June 2021 after Cheng performed an abnormally intrusive exam on her and later entered her room to give her “a painful injection that caused her to lose consciousness.”
According to a media statement from the firms, their client identified Cheng in a lineup conducted by the hospital, but the hospital then failed to collect forensic evidence, notify police, take proper medical notes or suspend or terminate Cheng. This litigation is still ongoing.
In statement provided to USA TODAY, New York-Presbyterian said:
“As caregivers, we are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of our patients – it is a sacred trust. The crimes committed by this individual are heinous, despicable, and a fundamental betrayal of our mission and our patients’ trust. We are appalled and deeply saddened by what these victims and their families have endured.
“In December 2022, as soon as the District Attorney made us aware of allegations of sexual abuse against this individual, he was immediately placed off duty, banned from hospital property, and terminated.”
The statement went on to say that hospital administrators have been examining areas where they could enhance security measures.
Cheng’s criminal charges include several counts of sexual assault, rape, assault, unlawful surveillance and criminal possession. If convicted, he faces multiple sentences of 25 years to life, according to the D.A.’s office.
Source: USA Today