Queens doctor charged with drugging and sexually assaulting patients

A Queens doctor has been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting several women, including his own patients, and recording the attacks, authorities said Monday.

The accusations against Dr. Zhi Alan Cheng include incidents at New York Presbyterian Queens hospital, where he is alleged to have drugged and sexually abused three patients while they were unconscious. 

In addition, he faces charges of drugging and raping three other women he met online within the confines of his residence in Astoria, Queens. 

In each of those instances, prosecutors allege that Cheng used his cell phone to record the incident.

"This is a doctor who preyed upon people's most vulnerable times. You go into a hospital, you expect treatment. At the very minimum, you expect trust," said Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz. "And so what this indictment alleges is someone who is preying upon individuals that could not act, that probably would not remember and that were drugged."

Authorities say there are more than six other videos depicting Cheng abusing women and Katz made a public appeal for other potential victims to come forward.

"We have more than six other videos of women who are being abused. We are looking for the identities of those women, and so we're making a public appeal that if someone believes they might have either been under the influence or whether they believe that they may have been abused by this doctor, that they come forward to our office," Katz said.

One of the victims has taken further action by filing a civil lawsuit against New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital. Attorney Nicholas Liakas, representing the survivor, said his client was 19 at the time of the alleged assault.

According to Liakas, the incident took place while the victim was undergoing treatment for stomach pains. Allegedly, Dr. Cheng administered an unknown substance through her I.V., causing her to lose consciousness. He then allegedly sexually assaulted her, recording the act using multiple videos.

In response to the charges, a spokesperson for New York Presbyterian Hospital said, "The crimes committed by this individual are heinous, despicable, and a fundamental betrayal of our mission and our patients’ trust. We are appalled and deeply saddened by what these victims and their families have endured."

Queens D.A. Katz said her office is still working to identify at least six other women seen being sexually assaulted on videos, but that it could be difficult as the recordings appear to be taken in New York City, Westchester County, Las Vegas, San Francisco and as far away as Thailand.