Dr. Thomas Tyma Ordered to Stand Trial in Two More Cases of Indecent Assault
Altogether 17 women have testified that the Wexford rheumatologist touched them inappropriately.
Two more women testified Friday that Dr. Thomas Tyma touched them inappropriately during examinations, bringing to 17 the number of women who have testified against the Wexford rheumatologist.
After a half hour of testimony and arguments, Magisterial District Judge Regis Welsh Jr. ordered Tyma to stand trial in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A formal arraignment is scheduled for May 26.
Friday's preliminary hearing brought to three the number of hearings over which Welsh has presided since January regarding the 54-year-old doctor, who is a Sewickley resident.
The women are not identified because they are alleged victims of sexual assault.
Tyma is charged with indecent assault and harassment in each of the cases; he has pleaded not guilty.
Tyma previously practiced at Allegheny North Arthritis Center in Wexford. The state medical board has temporarily suspended his license.
At Friday's hearing, the first woman testified that she was referred to Tyma in 2009 because she had hip pain, which was later diagnosed as arthritis. She also has fibromyalgia, she said.
She testified that Tyma touched her left breast and pushed on her pelvic area during the exam, then asked if she saw a gynecologist.
"I thought it was odd that he was an arthritis specialist asking about my gynecologist," she said.
The woman testified she was uncomfortable during the exams because Tyma did not speak much.
The second woman to testify said she had been seeing Tyma since 2002 or 2003 for rheumatoid arthritis.
During a doctor's visit in spring 2009, she testified that Tyma lifted her shirt and put "both hands on both breasts."
Although she had seen him for years, she testified that she had never had an exam like that.
"He was moving my breasts around with his fingers," she said.
Tyma's attorney, Stanton D. Levenson, asked for the cases to be dismissed because there was "no evidence that an indecent assault was committed." He also said the state did not provide expert testimony to establish what was or was not appropriate during a medical examination.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Evashavik argued that a medical expert was not needed to define "inappropriate touching." She said the women did not go to this doctor "for their breasts to be touched" and testimony established that the women "never had an exam like this."
Tyma's next preliminary hearing will be held Wednesday, April 13 before Magisterial District Judge William Wagner. In that case, McCandless police have charged him with one count of indecent assault.
New Castle police also are pursuing another case against Tyma in Lawrence County. He is charged with indecent assault and harassment in that case.
Levenson said the Lawrence County district attorney's office has agreed to transfer that case to Wagner's court so preliminary hearings in both cases may be held at the same time.
The paperwork on that move is not completed, he added.
All of the cases brought before Welsh have been filed through the Northern Regional Police Department.