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Orthodontist cleared of attacking teenaged patient, awaits another trial

Ernest Panos / 12-13-11 phofrom Cook County Sheriff's office

Ernest Panos / 12-13-11 photo from Cook County Sheriff's office

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Updated: June 28, 2012 6:06PM

An elderly Northwest Side orthodontist was acquitted Thursday of fondling a 13-year-old patient but still awaits trial for another alleged attack against another teenage patient.

Cook County Judge Joseph Kazmierski found Dr. Ernest Panos, 81, not guilty of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and unlawful restraint charges following a bench trial, said State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Andy Conklin.

Panos was accused of fondling a 13-year-old girl at his office in the 4800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue on Aug. 2, 2010.

Panos told the girl that “she was hot, she was gorgeous and blew kisses at her,” while she was alone with him in an examination room as her mother awaited in a car outside, prosecutors said. The girl also told authorities Panos fondled her over her clothing before he left the room.

The girl told her mother and her sister what happened, and police were notified. Panos was initially arrested on Aug. 11, 2010, but released after prosecutors declined to file charges. Charges were re-filed on Nov. 23, 2010.

The orthodontist is still awaiting trial on accusations he sexually abused a 15-year-old girl on Aug. 13, 2010, and Nov. 28, 2010.

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