Dr. Peter LaFuria, right, reports to the Calcasieu Correctional Center July 10, 2007, to post bond on video voyeurism and sexual battery charges. Attorney Glen Vamvoras accompanies him.
(American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 08, 2014 4:50 PM
A former Lake Charles gynecologist accused of taking photos of his unsuspecting patient’s genitals pleaded guilty to 20 counts in state district court Wednesday.
Dr. Peter LaFuria pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual battery, five counts of molestation of a juvenile, five counts of video voyeurism and five counts of obscenity.
He was sentenced to eight years in prison, without benefit of probation or parole, and five years probation after his release. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
He will serve his sentence “hour-for-hour and minute-for-minute,” District Attorney John DeRosier said.
He was fined $5,000 on the obscenity charges and ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution for the cost of prosecution.
LaFuria has already surrendered his medical license and is no longer allowed to practice medicine, DeRosier said.
DeRosier said that LaFuria, who has not attended most of the case’s hearings, was brought straight from the airport to the courthouse. After the plea hearing, he was expected to be transported to Calcasieu Correctional Center.
DeRosier said it is believed that LaFuria began taking photos of his patient’s genitals in 1998, when digital cameras became prominent. Some of the early charges could not be tried because they had already prescribed, he said. The District Attorney said he plans to propose legislation that would start prescription at the date the offense is uncovered, rather than from the time the offense occurred.
About 180 cases were prosecuted — LaFuria was originally indicted on 269 felony charges.
The case involved thousands of photos, which will be kept under seal and eventually will be purged, DeRosier said.
If the case had gone to trial, it would have been moved to another parish.
DeRosier said a plea deal was in the works the past month-and-a-half.
Of the nearly 200 victims, DeRosier said he personally addressed 50 to 60 in the last few weeks.
At a meeting Monday night, about 30 victims showed up, he said.
DeRosier said most of the victims felt the sentence was adequate and were relieved that they did not have to testify or have photos of themselves shown in open court. He said a few stood on each end of the “spectrum” — one woman didn’t feel the sentence was long enough, while another felt LaFuria had already lost a lot.
Most victims were relieved that they did not have to testify or have pictures of themselves shown, the District Attorney said.
Posted By: Melissa On: 1/22/2014
Title: too lenient
Ridiculous! Plea deal too soft. Difference is that a physician was involved. This case took entirely too long to prosecute!
Posted By: Linna On: 1/16/2014
Title: Sentenced ??
That's a weak sentence. We as his patients will have and have had this on our minds for years, he is over it and will be freed of the memories in a few years whereas we will not!