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Astoria doctor accused of being sexual predator, ‘serial rapist’ allegedly abused his patients: DA

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announces that an Astoria doctor is accused of sexually assaulting patients at New York-Presbyterian Queens and raping other women at his apartment in Astoria. (File photo by Mark Hallum)

Aug. 7, 2023 By Bill Parry

An Astoria doctor was indicted by a Queens grand jury and criminally charged with sexually assaulting patients in a hospital and raping acquaintances in his home, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Monday.

Dr. Zhi Alan Cheng, 33, of Broadway in Astoria, was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on a 50-count indictment charging him with sexually abusing three patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital and raping three other women in his Astoria home.

Cheng, a gastroenterologist, was previously indicted in December for allegedly raping a female acquaintance in his apartment. Cheng is also accused in the latest indictment of drugging the women he allegedly raped in his apartment and filming the assaults, according to Katz. He is also charged with filming his alleged sex abuse of hospital patients, all of whom appeared to be unconscious, in videos recovered from the defendant.

In addition to the victims who have been identified, the videos seized from Cheng depict more than six other women being sexually assaulted, including one at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, Katz said.

Cheng was arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Ushir Pandit-Duran on 10 counts of predatory sexual assault, three counts of rape in the first degree, seven counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, four counts of assault in the second degree, three counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, 11 counts of unlawful surveillance in the second degree, eight counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and four counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

Cheng was charged in a previous 11-count indictment, after his arrest on Dec. 27, 2022, with two counts of rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, two counts of assault in the second degree, two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree and four counts of unlawful surveillance in the second degree.

He was accused of drugging and raping a female acquaintance – Apartment Victim 1 – at his Queens home, Katz said. While in Cheng’s residence, Apartment Victim 1 came across videos depicting her and other women being assaulted by the doctor.

Afterward, in December, Apartment Victim 1’s attorney approached the Queens District Attorney’s office with this information. An investigation by the Queens District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, working with NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, uncovered evidence resulting in the most recent indictment.

A search warrant executed at Cheng’s home led to the seizure of numerous digital media storage devices containing videos of unconscious female hospital patients, as well as Cheng’s female acquaintances, according to Katz. Also seized were narcotics, including fentanyl, ketamine, cocaine, LSD and MDMA, as well as drugs used in healthcare settings for sedation, such as propofol and sevoflurane.

According to the new evidence, Hospital Victim 1 is a 19-year-old woman scheduled to undergo a test ordered by Cheng, is seen on a video, shot sometime around June 2021, with her gown open, her breasts exposed and her underwear lowered. Fingers touch her genitals and nipple and then the eyelid on one of her closed eyes is pulled up. Hospital Victim 1 appears unconscious and has no reaction to what is being done to her.

Hospital Victim 2, a 47-year-old woman who was seriously ill, was seen on a video, recorded
sometime around May 2022, in an apparently unconscious state as her breasts and genitals are groped, an ungloved finger is inserted into her mouth and one of her closed eyelids is pulled open, according to Katz.

Hospital Victim 3, a 37-year-old woman who was a hospital patient sometime between March
2021 and June 2021, was seen on video laying apparently unconscious as her breasts and genitals are groped. Additionally, one of her closed eyelids is pulled open, according to Katz.

Apartment Victim 2 is a woman who met Cheng through an online dating site and, according to prosecutors, was seen on video sometime around July 2021 apparently unconscious in his bed as Cheng engages in sexual conduct with her. She appears to have a tissue over her face in some videos. A brown bottle is seen on the bed similar to one containing the anesthetic sevoflurane that was seized from his home. The woman has no memory of the events, Katz said.

Apartment Victim 3, a woman who met Cheng through an online dating site in the spring of
2022, was seen on numerous videos in his bedroom, according to prosecutors. She was seen apparently unconscious as Cheng engages in acts of sexual intercourse and other sexual abuse. She has no memory of the events.

Apartment Victim 4, a female acquaintance of Cheng’s who spent several nights at his apartment from 2020 to 2022, was seen on videos apparently unconscious as Cheng commits acts of sexual intercourse and abuse, prosecutors said. Cheng is seen handling a brown bottle similar to the one seized from his apartment containing the anesthetic sevoflurane. The woman has no memory of the events.

In addition to the hospital victims already identified, another patient who is unidentified appears
in a video similar to those involving Hospital Victims 1, 2 and 3.

Videos of other women being sexually assaulted were also recovered with the conduct taking
place in Cheng’s Astoria apartment and in Westchester County, Manhattan, Las Vegas, in and around San Francisco and in Thailand.

“The recovered evidence compiled paints the picture of a sexual predator of the absolute worst kind, a serial rapist, someone willing to not only violate his sacred professional oath and patients’ trust, but every standard of human decency, as well,” Katz said. “We will present the facts to a jury and achieve justice for the victims of the horrific assaults captured on video.”

As a result, Cheng’s ability to practice medicine has been suspended by the state and he has been held without bail since his arrest.

Cheng faces multiple 25 years to life sentences and the investigation is ongoing.

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