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An investigation that has already spanned months is underway into allegations by a doctor at L.A. County-USC Medical Center that a fellow physician sexually assaulted her in the hospital.

Dr. Meena Zareh, 33, a graduate of USC’s medical school who was then in a residency program at the hospital, told detectives that in 2015, a cardiovascular disease fellow cornered her in a windowless room, reached under her scrubs and violated her, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Shortly afterward, Zareh shared details about the alleged assault with friends and family but did not report it to administrators in her residency program until three months later, she asserted in a civil lawsuit, The Times reported. In May, she made a report to the sheriff’s department about Dr. Guillermo A. Cortes, 34, who denies any wrongdoing.

The case was presented in December to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, but prosecutors declined to file a felony charge of penetration by force. A deputy district attorney said the case lacked enough evidence “at this time,” according to a memo obtained by The Times.

Lt. Robert Peacock of the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau said Tuesday in comments reported by The Times that detectives still have an “open and active investigation” into the incident and are also looking for “other potential victims.”

Zareh detailed the alleged sexual assault in a civil lawsuit she filed in 2016 against L.A. County and USC, according to The Times. In the lawsuit, Zareh alleges that Cortes assaulted her once, and that county and USC administrators mishandled her complaint once she came forward. She contends that county and USC administrators failed to properly investigate the incident and ultimately retaliated against her by pressuring her to delay her career and keep quiet.

—City News Service

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