Published on:

Court Rules on Disturbing Sex with Minors Case


In late 2002 and 2003, Phillip Riback, a pediatric neurologist, was charged with two indictments, later consolidated, with 39 criminal counts alleging that he had sex crimes with numerous male patients during medical examinations between 1997 and 2002. After pretrial proceedings in which some counts were dismissed, Phillip Riback went to trial on 30 counts. He was ultimately convicted of 28 counts, 12 felonies and 16 misdemeanors.

A New York Criminal Lawyer who followed the case, said that the convictions stem from the testimony of 14 boys, none of whom knew one another (except two were brothers), whose families consulted defendants for their sons’ various neurological problems. The boys described a variety of conduct that occurred for the most part after their parents complied with Riback’s request that they leave the boys alone with him in the examining room, at which time defendant encouraged them to play a “controlled spitting” game with him, tickled, hugged or kissed them or play-wrestled with them, pushed his erect penis against their bodies, held them upside down by their ankles or had the boys sit or lay on him, during which time Riback’s hands or face came into contact with the boys’ genitals, mostly over clothing (several described defendant’s direct –underneath clothing- contact with their penis), or the boys’ faces were pushed to Riback’s genital area over clothing. The lawyer said that all of the contact occurred in the subterfuge of a medical exam by Riback, often accompanied by warnings not to tell anyone.

Philip Riback’s conduct was first partially revealed in 2002, according to a New York Crimnal Lawyer, when one of the patient made revelations first to his mother and then to the Town of Colonie Police Department and the Department of Health’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), later providing a signed statement to the police recounting the extent of Riback’s sexual contact with him in December 2001, when he was nine years old. After another complaint by another family to OPMC of Riback’s conduct to his patients and came other allegations, Riback was arrested. The arrest was covered by the media and over 100 people contacted the police and 50 were interviewed, which leads to the subject indictment.

Riback did not testify during trial, but pursued the defense theory that any unusual behavior by him during patients’ exam was to create a rapport with-and put at ease-his young patients. Reports gathered stated Riback’s lawyer argued that, only after suggestive and coercive questioning by police and parents were the boys persuaded to interpret his innocent and benign behaviors as having a sexual component, leading to false mistaken accusations. Riback’s lawyers repeatedly emphasized the boys’ lengthy delays in disclosing Ribacks’ conduct and the fact that most of the boys’ disclosures of sexual contact did not occur until after Riback’s initial arrest, in support of its theory that all of the boys’ sexual contact allegations were the product of publicity and suggestive questioning.

Based on the data gathered, Phillip Riback was convicted and was sentenced to an aggregate prison term of 48 years, with five years of postrelease supervision. Riback’s postrial motion to vacate the judgment of conviction was denied without a hearing.

Upon appeal to the Third Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, where a New York Sex with Minor Defense Lawyer was able to relate, said that Riback’s defense lawyers questions the validity of the judgment rendered and by permission, from an order of the lower court which denied his motion to vacate the judgment of conviction without a hearing of which the Supreme Court replied that the accusations made were supported by the weight of credible evidence by the minors he had molested and the overwhelming evidence of Riback’s culpability. The Supreme Court also held that the “Country Court may have placed undue weight upon Riback’s ill-advised decision to reject the very favorable plea bargain and proceed to trial” and found that the 48 years aggregate was “too extreme a penalty for Riback’s exercise of his constitutional right to jury trial” thus lowering it to 20 years aggregate prison.

Sometimes life can be so cruel and mean, we all make mistakes but when we choose to suffer for those mistakes and find that the penalty is more than what we deserved, there is legal counsel to help you. Whether you have been convicted of a sex crime, drug possession or a theft crime, legal counsel can ensure that your rights are protected throughout your legal process.

Contact Information