LI doctor accused of abusing girls facing federal charges

A Bethpage pediatrician already accused of sexually abusing young patients was hit with a 36-count federal indictment today for new charges that include sex abuse

CENTRAL ISLIP - A Bethpage pediatrician already accused of sexually abusing young patients was hit with a 36-count federal indictment today for new charges that include sex abuse and health care fraud.

Dr. Rakesh Punn, 53, pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment today. He's accused of using chloroform to knock out his young patients before blindfolding them and using a camera to record himself sexually abusing them in his Bethpage office.

Prosecutors say he abused girls as young as 7. The new federal charges include seven counts of sexual exploitation and 29 counts of health care fraud. Federal prosecutors say Punn filed fake insurance claims for the victims he molested.

Punn has been held at the Nassau County jail on $10 million bond since July 2010, when he was originally arrested. He's scheduled to be back in Nassau court next week, and to return to federal court in March.

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