Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ragi's 'Tortuous' Case

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ragi's 'Tortuous' Case

Article excerpt

ACCOUNTABILITY IS not too much to ask of the people who medically treat us or serve as our advocates in the criminal justice system. Yet a side case that emerged during the recent trial of former Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph Ferriero shows that is the very thing missing in the case of Gangaram Ragi.

A dozen female patients have said they were groped by the Teaneck dermatologist. Despite his indictment, the case was never brought to trial and he is still practicing medicine. If not for the Ferriero case, Ragi would have faded into obscurity. The women who came forward expected the criminal justice system to give them a day in court. A jury may have found that nothing criminal had occurred, but the absence of that process leaves the alleged victims with no justice and the public without an accounting of how or why Ragi avoided trial and kept his license.

An assistant prosecutor wanted to go to trial. The state medical board found the accusations credible enough to mete out discipline - - albeit too lax. The state Attorney General's Office needs to investigate whether Ragi's favorable resolution by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office and by the state medical board was the result of anything more than good legal counsel.

The federal case against Ferriero focused on whether he improperly exerted his influence with public and elected officials. The jury deciding Ferriero's fate did not hear of his link to Ragi. But the details that became public are troubling because Ferriero -- now convicted of racketeering and wire fraud -- has a history with many individuals in the criminal justice system, including Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Ferriero received almost $500,000 to help Ragi with his legal and medical licensing battles. In the end, Ragi was able to avoid prosecution by entering a Pretrial Intervention program twice.

That decision was made by the county Prosecutor's Office led by Molinelli, a former lawyer for the Bergen County Democratic Organization, against the advice of the director of the program, according to court records, in addition to the objections of the assistant prosecutor assigned to the case, who was interviewed by The Record. …

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