MOODY AIR FORCE BASE -- A Moody Air Force Base doctor was found guilty on four of eight charges Monday after seven days of court-martial proceedings.
Military Judge Lt. Col. James Flanary announced the verdict Monday morning, finding Capt. Oscar Salvat guilty on two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer for sexual intercourse with two female patients; one count of adultery; and one count of solicitation to commit an offense.
Flanary sentenced Salvat to 15 months confinement, dismissal from the Air Force and forfeiture of all military benefits.
After the trial, Moody AFB Security Force personnel escorted Salvat to the Lowndes County Jail, where he will await transportation to a yet-to-be-determined military confinement installation.
Salvat was acquitted on one count of violation of malingering; two counts of insurance fraud and stealing medical supplies; and one count of filing a false police report.
After Flanary announced the verdict, the prosecution and defense submitted documentary evidence for their sentencing arguments to the court. The prosecution also called one person to the stand to verify the documentary evidence.
The defense called in several witnesses who had been under Salvat's care while he served with the 347th Medical Group. The former patients testified that Salvat was a good doctor and provided them and their family members with excellent care. When asked if the guilty verdict would change their minds about having him as a doctor, the witnesses agreed they wouldn't hesitate to have him as their provider.
Salvat offered to make an unsworn statement to the court. "I respect the opinion of the court," he said.
Salvat said he had a problem with his command's views on treating patients,
and believed the command used a cheap way of diagnosing and caring for its patients.
"I'm a doctor, not a financier," Salvat said. "Many patients and coworkers can attest to the type of physician I am."
The prosecution argued that Salvat should be dismissed from the Air Force, stripped of all benefits and confined for two years. Two years of confinement sends a message that he can no longer do harm, said prosecutor Capt. Graham Todd.
The defense argued that the least possible sentence for Salvat should be considered.
"I can assure you that dismissal of the accused will not be victory," said defense counsel James Smith Jr. "It would be a very severe and permanent stigma equivalent to several years of confinement that the accused would not be able to recover from."
After the trial, The Valdosta Daily Times asked the defense and prosecution about the verdict and sentencing.
"Well, we're very gratified that he appears to have been acquitted on the more serious offenses ..." Smith said. "I think the judge did a good job at looking at the reasonable doubt that was involved in some of the more serious specifications. All in all, it's not the worst result that could have happened by any means."
The prosecution said the Air Force was extremely satisfied, and the case proceeded well during the seven days of trial.
"This was a very thorough proceeding from beginning to end," Todd said. "I think there was fair decorum on all aspects. The Air Force is happy that a fair and appropriate sentence was handed down and the judicial system worked."
To contact reporter Rip Prine, please call 244-3400, ext. 237.
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