Prosecutor Rusty Knox said Serdula is facing “multiple life sentences.” Sentencing will be in about six weeks.
Serdula admitted to 20 pages of facts stipulated at the bench trial, though those facts were filed under seal. No witnesses testified, and no evidence was presented in open court. The judge reviewed several photographs on a disc in his chambers.
Jimmy Berry, whom Serdula retained as his defense attorney, said Serdula was admitting the facts to avoid “putting the ladies through a trial.”
Serdula, though, did not plead guilty, in order to preserve his rights to appeal. Specifically, Berry plans to contest the process by which police obtained a search warrant for Serdula’s cell phone, on which multiple images of assaults were found.
“The pictures are what they are, they show what they show,” Berry said. “We didn’t have a lot to fight about. Just the procedure of how they got them, and whether they got a valid search warrant.”
He also had asked Judge Green to recuse himself from this case, because Green was previously a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office. Green refused, and Berry intends to take that up on appeal.
Serdula, who appeared in court Monday shackled at the waist, was charged in two separate indictments of assaulting 19 victims, including two girls under the age of 16, at a local hospital, surgery center, and a dentist’s office.
He was first arrested in November 2009, after a woman found the camera hidden beneath a bathroom sink at the Goldstein Garber & Salama dental office at 600 Galleria Parkway and called 911. He was later released on $50,000 bond, but was re-arrested about a week later on child molestation charges, after one victim was identified as a child.
In July 2010, he was again released, this time on $250,000 bond, before being arrested a third time, in December 2010 on additional charges of unlawful surveillance, aggravated sodomy and sexual assault. He has been held without bond at Cobb County Jail since that time.
In recent weeks, five female patients whom police believe were sexually assaulted by Serdula while under anesthesia at WellStar Cobb Hospital settled a civil suit filed last October against the health system.
The lead plaintiff’s attorney in that case, Tommy Malone, said only that “the matter has resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.” WellStar spokesman Keith Bowermaster said WellStar has no comment on the litigation.
According to the original lawsuit, four of the women were at the hospital to deliver babies via cesarean section, and a minor was undergoing an emergency appendectomy. The suit claimed that Serdula administered some drugs without medical need, and gave excessive doses, leaving the new mothers unable to recall their babies’ births. Other operating room staff were in the room at the time of the assaults but unaware of what was happening, according to the suit.