High Court Allows Assault Trial of Gynecologist from Belleville

By William H. Freivogel Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), October 3, 1995 | Go to article overview

High Court Allows Assault Trial of Gynecologist from Belleville


William H. Freivogel Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The U.S. Supreme Court opened its 1995-96 term in Washington Monday by throwing out 15,000 appeals, including Belleville gynecologist Carl Burpo's attempt to avoid prosecution on eight charges of sexually assaulting patients.

In addition to opening the way to Burpo's prosecution, the court's long list of spurned appeals had this effect on local cases:

Jody Berardi of St. Louis won't get a second chance to prove that Anheuser-Busch Inc. was guilty of sex discrimination because of harassment she says she faced when she became the first woman to train to be a brewery supervisor.

Jane Porter-Cooper of St. Ann won't have a chance to win a larger verdict for injuries she suffered from use of the Dalkon Shield contraceptive. Porter-Cooper's lawyer said she could have won much more than the $20,000 awarded her in a 1993 trial in which she was not permitted to show that the manufacturer had failed to warn women about the device's dangers.

William Fleming failed in his attempt to revive the civil rights suit against the St. Louis Major Case Squad, which arrested him in 1987 for killing a Jennings police officer. Other men were convicted of the murder. Fleming filed a false imprisonment suit maintaining that the Major Case Squad's actions were racially motivated.

Three Missouri death-row inmates lost appeals and will soon face execution dates. The men are Anthony Joe Larette, convicted of killing a St. Charles woman; Robert T. Sidebottom, convicted of killing his grandmother in Independence, Mo.; and Robert O'Neal, convicted of a racially motivated murder of a black prisoner.

The Supreme Court's decision to turn down Burpo's appeal means that St. Clair County prosecutors can pursue eight criminal sexual assault charges against the long-time Belleville gynecologist. A St. Clair County judge had thrown the charges out, ruling that the law was unconstitutionally vague. But the Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the charges earlier this year, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review that decision. …

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