Horry doctor accused of assaults to plead

An Horry County doctor accused of assaulting multiple women by inappropriately touching them will plead guilty Thursday to a lesser charge, prosecutors said.

Since November 2008, Dr. Omar Jaraki has been indicted on seven counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and one count of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct.

According to Horry County grand jury indictments, Jaraki assaulted seven women at his cardiology practice between 2006 and 2008.

Instead of going to trial, prosecutors said Jaraki decided to plead guilty to one count of simple assault and battery -- a misdemeanor that can carry 30 days in jail. However, 15th Circuit prosecutors will ask for probation, not jail time.

Jaraki will also plead guilty to one count of 3rd offense shoplifting, a felony charge that is unrelated to the assaults, but bundled into his plea.

"When he decided to plea, it was probably the best we could do with it (the case)," said Deputy Solicitor Jimmy Richardson.

Richardson said he and other prosecutors think Jaraki did inappropriately touch the women, but he said the case would be tricky to try, and getting a guilty conviction would be difficult.

Richardson listed three main reasons why a plea deal is better than going to trial:

1. The state has no physical evidence to prove Jaraki assaulted the women in the manner they describe.

2. Many of the women waited months to report the alleged assaults.

3. Some of the women continued seeing Jaraki even after they filed police reports against the doctor.

Given those circumstances, Richardson said the case would have come down to the credibility of the victims, and it would have become a "he said, she said" case.

A victim's husband, who didn't want to be named, said he and his wife were outraged that Jaraki would "get off with a plea deal."

"It's just ridiculous," the man said.

In July 2008, the SC Board of Medical Examiners suspended Jaraki's license to practice medicine in the state, and according to online records it is still suspended.

A call for comment Tuesday afternoon to Jaraki's attorney, Morgan Martin, had not been returned as of this posting.