Thirteen former patients of a Wexford rheumatologist took the stand Monday to testify that he touched them inappropriately during their medical exams.
Dr. Thomas Tyma, 54, of Sewickley, is on trial for 18 counts of indecent assault and harassment in a nonjury trial before Common Pleas Court Judge Donna Jo McDaniel.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Digiovanni called 13 women to testify; more will speak Tuesday when the trial resumes at 9:30 a.m.
Each witness testified that Tyma fondled her when she was left alone in the examination room with him at Allegheny North Arthritis Center in Wexford or Jameson South in New Castle.
The women are not identified because they are alleged victims of sexual assault.
Many said they were being treated for different types of arthritis and fibromyalgia, noting their symptoms included joint pain and fatigue.
Defense attorney Stanton D. Levenson asked each woman if she had seen an attorney to file suit against Tyma or was contemplating it.
The answers varied, with most of the women saying, "No."
Three civil lawsuits against Tyma have been filed in Allegheny County.
In Monday's testimony, one woman said Tyma asked if she had had a breast exam as he put his hands on both breasts over her sweater.
"I'm 63 years old and I knew I had been violated," she said.
Her testimony echoed that of others who said they were embarrassed, flabbergasted and speechless.
When Digiovanni asked the women why they did not report the incidents earlier, some said they were shocked and did not know what to do.
"I was scared. I didn't want to do this, to testify," one woman testified.
"I was ashamed, embarrassed," another woman said. "I did not think anyone would believe me."
Levenson repeatedly asked the women if they came forward after seeing reports in the media. Many did and conceded that they probably would not have filed police reports if they had not seen the news stories.
He also asked the women if they were suffering from depression, anxiety or panic attacks. Some said yes and he noted that they were taking various medicines like Wellbutrin, Prozac, Xanax and Cymbalta.
One former patient said she took Cymbalta for fibromyalgia, not depression.
In most of the testimony, the women said Tyma put his hands on their breasts. One testified that he also rubbed her hip area and inner thighs and asked if she had pain there.
All of the women said Tyma did not say anything and they did not ask questions during the alleged incidents.