MARCO ISLAND — A Marco Island doctor who asked a patient without insurance to have sex with him in return for his services avoided a trial today by entering a pretrial diversion program.
Under the terms of the agreement, 46-year-old Dr. Andrew Martin Guidry must do 100 hours of community service and undergo a psychological evaluation and follow any recommendations. If he fully complies with all conditions over the three-month program, he will avoid having a criminal record.
The agreement was reached the day the case was set for trial before County Judge Mike Carr.
The 14-year osteopathic doctor, a former Marco Island City Council candidate, was charged in July with soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor. His medical license is clean, but due to the resolution of the case, the state medical board can now move forward with its investigation.
The community service must be performed at a nonprofit program approved by the county probation department. As he left the courthouse, Guidry said he’d work at a free medical clinic in Naples, but left any further comments up to his defense attorney, Jerry Berry of Naples.
"Had this gone to trial, we were confident a jury would find Dr. Guidry not guilty," Berry said after Guidry filled out all the paperwork in the probation office, including writing an admission of what he’d done.
"However, when you go into litigation, there is no guarantee of what the outcome would be, so resolving this with diversion was a compromise that was fair to both Dr. Guidry and the people of the state of Florida," he added.
Guidry has no record, except for a 2009 misdemeanor domestic battery charge the State Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute due to insufficient evidence and was dismissed in July.
The second-degree misdemeanor solicitation charge is punishable by up to 60 days in county jail and a $500 fine.
Guidry has offices on Marco Island and in East Naples. The Naples resident performs a lot of charity work, has been in the National Guard for 25 years, served in Iraq as a battalion surgeon in 2003, and served as a corpsman in Beirut for nine months in 1984.
Berry had always maintained that a phone conversation taped by Marco Island Police on July 10 was just Guidry joking with the 24-year-old Naples woman, as he often did, and noted that Guidry had even asked two others to listen in.
Due to the sexual nature of the case, the woman’s name is being withheld by the Daily News.
She was not in court, but approved of the resolution, which was scrutinized by Assistant State Attorney Susan Storter, who made sure Guidry’s admission was the one she and the woman approved. When she spotted two words missing, "and I," she asked Berry to ask Guidry to correct that and another omission.
Storter declined comment, referring any comments to the office’s spokeswoman, Samantha Syoen.
"We’re satisfied with the resolution," Syoen said, adding that they’d worked closely with the victim during negotiations. "Due to the facts of the case, we thought this was a good resolution."
The woman agreed.
"He admitted his guilt," she said during a telephone interview after the brief hearing. "I’m happy I’m vindicated. A lot of people had speculated these were false allegations and this proves I did nothing wrong."
The woman, a former legal employee who now works in a college in Southwest Florida, said she has been in touch with the state medical board, but hadn’t yet been interviewed and encouraged any other victims to come forward.
"I know there are others," she said, adding that she hopes he loses his medical license.
Police reports give this account:
She was unemployed and uninsured on July 9 when she went to Guidry, her childhood doctor and friend. She couldn’t afford the $300 cost of removing an Implanon, a contraceptive device implanted in her arm. She’d seen Guidry a few months earlier and told police he’d tried to fondle her breasts and attempted to unzip her pants during an exam.
She’d also said she’d gone to a wedding with him in 2005 and he told her they’d slept together, but she had no recollection of that; Guidry later denied it.
Despite their past, she called again in June, after his domestic violence arrest, and they texted each other and he said the allegations were false and he needed a hug. The next month, she asked to have the Implanon removed. He said he wasn’t trained in Implanon removal, but could do it.
The two texted again and scheduled a July 9 appointment after 5 p.m. because he said it was an expensive procedure and he didn’t want it known he was doing it free. She said it was clear he wanted to be alone to have sex as payment. When she said she preferred to pay, he got mad and told her the cost.
The next day, when she went to the police department, Detective Glen Zirgibel arranged a taped phone call. She agreed to Guidry’s proposal and he named specific sex acts, but became professional and ended the call. He called back on her cell phone and said he couldn’t talk earlier because an employee had walked in.
He then told her about two sexual positions he hoped to perform and she asked if they were talking about payment. He said: "Yeah, we are talking about making sure that you’re fully compensated and I’m fully compensated."
Today, the woman said she was aware Berry would have attempted to tarnish her credibility before jurors, but she was up for it because she’d done nothing wrong by going back to Guidry.
"I had no intention of going back or seeing him again or of ever being a patient after the first inappropriate incident," she said.
"Unfortunately, I was so sick from that device I needed it out," she added. "I was anemic, sick to my stomach all the time and I had headaches. I looked into other options and called other doctors, but I just didn’t have the health insurance or the money to do it at the time."
She said she had no other choice, so it was worth the risk and she could handle any inappropriate comments or advances.
"It’s a hard thing to do when you’ve been victimized like this … but I wanted to do the right thing," she said. "You’re supposed to be able to trust your doctor and feel safe when you go to a doctor’s office."
She commended everyone at the police department and prosecutor’s office, especially Storter, and urged any other victims to come forward.
She added: "I have been received with such comfort, care and compassion by everyone involved in this case that it made me feel a lot better."