Judge orders former UF physician to mental health counseling, community service

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information from an interview with the doctor’s accuser.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A former osteopathic physician who resigned from the University of Florida College of Medicine during a misconduct investigation has been ordered to attend mental health counseling and perform 15 hours of community service on a misdemeanor battery charge.

Ahmad Abdul-Rahim, 32, pleaded no contest last month in the case in Alachua County Court after an administrative assistant accused him of sexual misconduct in March. Reached by phone, he declined Friday to discuss the case or his current plans. He has moved from Gainesville and is living in Panama City, Florida, according to court records.

The assistant told University of Florida police that during an office encounter March 22, Abdul-Rahim made jokes of a sexual nature, touched her leg without her consent, slid his hand to the crease of her thigh and groin, and took her cell phone and began looking through her pictures looking for nude photographs of her. 

She said Abdul-Rahim told her, “I’m sorry, I can’t think about anything besides f****** you right now. All the blood has gone from my head to my penis. You can look at it if you want.”

Alachua County Judge Thomas M. Jaworski agreed Sept. 28 to withhold a guilty verdict against Abdul-Rahim if he continued mental health counseling with a doctor until he is discharged, performed 15 hours of community service, did not contact the woman who accused him of misconduct, and committed no further crimes for 12 months. Abdul-Rahim’s therapist was required to send bi-weekly reports on his counseling to his probation officer.

Abdul-Rahim’s accuser said in an interview Saturday the punishment was “a joke.” She thinks he deserved a far longer period of probation than 12 months and that he should have been convicted of a felony. She no longer works at the University of Florida and moved out of state.

She said she prepared a victim impact statement for the court – amid promises by the State Attorney’s Office that she would be allowed to read it to the judge – but she did not get the opportunity. Prosecutors said the statement was read in court at the hearing, which happened the day Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s southwest coast and moved through central Florida.

Police on April 27 initially accused Abdul-Rahim of felony kidnapping and robbery charges, plus the misdemeanor battery charge. Prosecutors formally charged him May 24 with misdemeanor petit theft and battery charges. Abdul-Rahim pleaded no contest only to the battery charge, and the petit theft charge was dropped.

“The charges kept getting lowered and lowered,” his accuser said.

The formal criminal charges filed against him came roughly two weeks after Abdul-Rahim had resigned from UF on May 11. UF had placed him on paid leave on March 23 at the start of its administrative investigation.

“What have I done?” Abdul-Rahim told UF’s investigator, according to the university’s 46-page report on the case, obtained by WUFT News. “I have ruined my career and wasted my training. I have acted in a way that a married man should not act.” He also said, “How could I be so stupid,” the report said.

Abdul-Rahim’s wife, Jinan Erchid, 29, called and emailed her husband’s accuser May 6 to ask if they could discuss the woman’s complaint, the report said. Erchid is a licensed speech-language pathology assistant, according to state licensing records. She apologized for Abdul-Rahim’s behavior and said she was not trying to justify or defend him.

“I understand this is unlikely but was hoping you’d be willing to meet with me so I could ask you some questions,” she wrote. “My husband told me what happened only four days ago. As you can imagine my trust in him has diminished and for that reason I’d appreciate hearing what happened from you. Again, I understand you probably don’t want to speak with me and I completely get that. Just thought I’d give it a shot.”

Abdul-Rahim’s accuser did not respond to Erchid’s email and forwarded it to university investigators. She told the woman on the phone she was not comfortable talking to her, the report said.

Defendants in criminal cases are commonly ordered by a judge not to contact their accusers, even through family members or friends, but there was no such order in place against Abdul-Rahim at the time.

The university concluded its investigation Aug. 3, saying Abdul-Rahim was guilty of violating the school’s rules against disruptive behavior and harassment. By then, he had already resigned.

Abdul-Rahim’s medical license in Florida as an osteopathic physician is valid through March 2024, and state records show that no complaints have been filed against him.

The doctor’s accuser said she has filed a formal complaint against his medical license, and the case is currently under investigation by the Florida Health Department.

Twice since WUFT News first reported the criminal accusations against Abdul-Rahim, the doctor’s legal representatives have asked the news organization to remove its May 12 news article. One request said the article was “slanderous, defamatory and tortious interference” and violated Abdul-Rahim’s copyrights. Another request, from attorney Blandin Wright of Boca Raton, said publicity about his case “has caused serious hardship to Dr. Abdul-Rahim both in his business and with his family.”

WUFT declined both requests to remove the news article.

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This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

About WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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