The Albemarle County doctor convicted earlier this year of feloniously using his finger to penetrate the genitals of one of his patients received a nearly 13-year sentence Wednesday evening.
“I’ve tried to balance all the issues I’ve heard today,” said Judge Claude Worrell as he sentenced Mark Hormuz Dean to 40 years in prison with all but 12 years and 10 months suspended.
That sentence was the midpoint in the range as noted by the prosecutor, chief deputy commonwealth’s attorney Alicia Milligan, who told the court that Dean faces nine charges in four other cases whose allegations tracked this one’s.
Here, a victim who chose to be identified only by her initials, E.S., convinced a jury on April 1 that Dean placed his fingers inside her vagina during a routine appointment at the now defunct Albemarle Pain Management Associates on May 15, 2017.
“That day began just as any other,” E.S. testified Wednesday. But, she continued, “Life as I knew it changed. Someone I trusted who took an oath as a doctor harmed me in a way that was indescribable.”
She said the incident provoked anxiety, depression, heart palpitations and sleeplessness— as well as shame and guilt caused by her “freeze”— rather than “fight or flight”— response.
“I blamed myself for not fighting my attacker,” she testified.
The judge also heard from four of Dean’s grateful patients. One was a Kenyan refugee who credited Dean with curing him of incontinence and back pain after a car wreck. Another was a registered nurse debilitated by pain.
“I considered Dr. Dean my hero,” Tammie Reynolds of Staunton testified. “He put me back to work. He listened to me and gave me the time that so many other doctors didn’t provide.”
Praise for Dean also included the tale of Garnett Barbour. He said his chronic pain had been treated as mere migraine headaches until Dr. Dean rushed to his side after looking closely at an X-ray.
“He said, ‘Oh my god; you have a tumor the size of a walnut behind your eye. You need surgery,’” said Barbour, who placed one hand on his heart as a gesture of gratitude as he left the witness stand.
Dean’s defense lawyer urged Worrell to consider the stories of the patients whom Dean had helped and asserted that Dean has likely donated upwards of $5 million in free medical services.
“Your honor has to look at the whole life of Mark Dean,” said that attorney, Gene Rossi.
A cousin who fled Iraq as a teen and was raised by Dean’s parents in New Jersey also begged for mercy for Dean. She testified that Dean has a host of chronic medical conditions— including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and an auto-immune disorder that has cost him his entire colon. She also urged lenience not only for Dean but also for Dean’s parents.
“My aunt and uncle are suffering,” she said through tears. “She’s 91, and that’s her one wish: She just wants to hold her son.”
Prosecutor Milligan noted the 14 letters submitted to the court asserting how much Dean has already lost: his medical practice, his wife, and contact with his children.
“But, your honor, those things were not stolen from him,” Milligan said. “He chose his course of conduct.”
She asked for a 20-year active sentence.
“That’s a death sentence,” Rossi said. “His health is a disaster; he will die in prison.”
In court, Dean wore a navy blue sports coat the judge allowed him to don while on leave from the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, where he’s been incarcerated since his conviction. The 54-year-old kept an upright posture and showed little emotion throughout the proceedings— even after the judge asked him to stand and speak before the sentence was pronounced.
“I waive my right to elocution, your honor,” Dean in his only courtroom remark.
Worrell indicated that the nearly 13-year active sentence would be reduced by the several months of time Dean already has served but would be followed by 10 years of supervised probation with a ban on drugs and alcohol.
“I hope justice is done today,” the victim said in her testimony. “I was given a life sentence that day.”
She said she found comfort in “Fight Song,” a 2015 hit by singer-songwriter Rachel Platten. She then read several of the song’s lines aloud in the courtroom.
While neither prosecution nor defense would comment following the verdict, Rossi said in his closing arguments that there would be an appeal. Two years ago, he and co-counsel Rhonda Quagliana filed a motion accusing the investigating detective, Charles Marshall of the Albemarle County Police Department, of misleading the grand jury that indicted their client. The court file shows no order rejecting or endorsing that allegation, and Marshall testified at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.
Meanwhile, another of Dean’s alleged crimes has been slated for trial in this same Albemarle County Circuit Court beginning on October 24. That alleged victim has also filed a $2.65 million lawsuit against Dean.