Ex-Chicago gynecologist sentenced to 18 years for raping patient
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter December 10, 2013 5:22PM
Dr. Bruce Sylvester Smith, gynecologist | Mugshot courtesy of the Cook County sheriff's office
Updated: January 12, 2014 6:33AM
A former gynecologist was sentenced to 18 years in prison Tuesday for raping his pregnant patient while performing an exam on her in his South Side office.
“How do I describe the feeling of nasty and dirty, never being able to wash that feeling away, never being able to wash him away?” the victim said of the actions of Bruce Sylvester Smith.
The woman said since the Aug. 2, 2002, incident, she is afraid to go to the doctor’s office.
The sexual assault and its nightmarish aftereffects have “left an endless knot in the pit of my belly,” the woman said as Smith, 60, looked down in Cook County Judge Clayton Crane’s courtroom.
“It never goes away.”
“ . . . I am afraid and paranoid all of the time . . . Bruce Smith was my doctor, my obstetrician, my gynecologist and I trusted him. I put the health and care of myself and the health and care of my unborn child in his hands, but he violated that trust and he abused his position. He violated me in the worst way possible.”
Smith, who testified early last year that the sex was consensual, is a “liar,” prosecutors said.
“He blamed her for it,” Assistant State’s Attorney Annette Milleville said.
All rapes are horrible, but this attack was more horrendous given that Smith was the victim’s doctor and was in his care when she was assaulted, Milleville said.
Smith, of the 500 block of West Cullerton, hid behind the aura of being a professional and violated the trust the victim had in him.
“He shattered [that trust] into a million pieces in the most despicable manner,” the prosecutor said.
Smith chose not to say anything in court before he was sentenced.
But Assistant Public Defender Armando Sandoval spoke on Smith’s behalf describing how the father of five grew up poor and enlisted in the U.S. Army and worked as a teacher before putting himself through medical school.
Because of his legal troubles, Smith’s second marriage ended, Sandoval told the judge in hopes of Smith avoiding the maximum 30-year sentence.
Although the rape took place in 2002, Smith wasn’t arrested in the case until 2010, when prosecutors admitted “mistakes were made” in the investigation; Smith ’s DNA sample was never taken after the woman immediately reported the attack to police.
Smith’s medical license was suspended for nine months in 2009 after several women came forward, accusing him of sexual misconduct.
One woman said he acted inappropriately toward her, hugging her and telling her she was attractive and was confused why her husband wouldn’t have sex with her, said Lisa Stephens, the former chief of medical prosecutions with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Another woman said Smith had penetrated her while performing a vaginal exam in 2000.
Ultimately, Smith’s license was revoked in 2011, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Smith was never charged in any other case.