Dublin doctor pleads no contest to sexual assault charges

Surprise moves comes after jury selected for planned Monday trial

In a move that surprised prosecutors, a former Dublin physician has pleaded no contest to charges that he drugged men, secretly took photographs of them and then molested them.

Tony Shiu, 40, who was a private general internal medicine doctor, entered his plea to eight felony counts and one misdemeanor count in the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Henry Ramsey on Thursday.

Deputy District Attorney Danielle Hilton said today that a jury had been selected for Shiu's trial and opening statements were scheduled for Monday.

The plea "was a complete surprise to me," Hilton said.

She said most of the five charged victims in the case were willing to testify against Shiu but are "very happy" and "relieved" that they won't have to do so.

Shiu pleaded no contest to eight felony counts: three counts of sexual battery, two counts of administering a controlled substance, two counts of poisoning and one count of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor. He also pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of sexual battery.

Shiu will face a "substantial" term in state prison when he's sentenced by Judge Ramsey on July 1, Hilton said.

Shiu's attorney, Todd Bequette, didn't return a call seeking comment today.

Shiu fled the Bay Area in September 2006 after learning authorities were investigating him.

He was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on May 29, 2008, after he was deported from Taiwan, where he had been living under an assumed name.

According to Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. Herb Walters, who investigated the case, detectives who searched Shiu's home in Dublin on Sept. 8, 2006, found about 450 digital photographs of at least 10 exposed men in medical settings who were unconscious and unaware they were being photographed.

The arrest warrant for Shiu alleged that he drugged two men on Aug. 18, 2006, and sodomized one of the men.

The two men alleged that they began a night out at Shiu's residence on Aug. 18, 2006, but woke up the next day with no recollection of the night before.

According to police, one of the men had never met Shiu before but the other was Shiu's friend and patient.

The Medical Board of California suspended Shiu's license in July 2007.

In a report issued on June 28, 2007, the Medical Board said Shiu's conduct constituted excessive prescribing, prescribing without medical indication, violation of drug laws, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of patients and unprofessional conduct.

Medical Board officials said Shiu didn't appear at hearings Nov. 22, 2006, and Feb. 8, 2007, and didn't contest the proceedings against him.

Hilton said that although the charges to which Shiu entered his no contest plea included five victims, "I believe there were other victims."

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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