Bethpage doctor pleads not guilty to sex abuse charges

A Bethpage pediatrician pleaded not guilty in a Mineola courtroom today to charges that he sedated young girls and molested them in his office. Prosecutors

MINEOLA - A Bethpage pediatrician pleaded not guilty in a Mineola courtroom today to charges that he sedated young girls and molested them in his office.

Prosecutors say Dr. Rakesh Punn, 53, targeted girls as young as 11 years old. Some of the victims were blindfolded and Punn allegedly videotaped the attacks.

Punn faces a 60-count indictment on charges that include sexual abuse, assault, promoting sexual performance by a child and unlawful surveillance.

Prosecutors today accused Punn of compiling a "how-to" manual on molestation that he titled "Sex" and kept stored on his computer. The book allegedly included his writings and passages from the ancient Indian sex manual, the Kama Sutra.

Punn also is charged with running a prescription scam for obtaining chloral hydrate, a controlled substance that a Nassau prosecutor described as a date-rape drug.

At today's arraignment, a judge increased Punn's bail to $10 million bond or $5 million cash. The doctor was arrested one year ago and has been behind bars ever since.

Associated Press reports contributed to this article.

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