In day three of what's expected to be a two-week trial, one woman stood before her former doctor and testified that she was touched inappropriately during four separate appointments.
"I don't know why I didn't say anything ... I guess I didn't want to believe it was happening," the woman said through tears Wednesday as she explained why she waited about a year to report Dr. Robert Rook's alleged abuse to authorities.
Patrick Benca, who represents the accused Conway doctor, said he did not understand why the alleged victim and others who have claimed Rook inappropriately touched them during breast and vagina exams they reportedly never asked did not immediately report the alleged abuse to authorities.
Following the defense counsel's questioning, one of the Conway Police Department detectives who worked on the case against Rook testified that it is nothing out of the ordinary that these women did not immediately contact police.
"It's not uncommon at all," Sgt. Mike Welsh said of the delay in the sexual abuse reports against Rook. "I've had people delay [telling authorities] for years. They had to build up that courage [to talk]."
Welsh also addressed Benca's concerns regarding prosecutors filing this case against his client, who faces 11 counts of second-degree sexual assault and 10 counts of third-degree sexual assault, without there being any physical evidence against Rook.
Physical evidence such as DNA evidence in this case was unnecessary, he said, because the women's medical records prove they were with Rook when the alleged abuse occurred.
"It was not relevant in any form or fashion," Welsh said as he explained why detectives did not collect DNA samples during their investigation.
Before being dismissed from the courtroom, the aforementioned accuser was asked to describe Rook's demeanor after he reportedly gave her vaginal exams she didn't request.
During the final incident where she was reportedly abused, the woman said Rook began the vaginal exam as he had in the past, without any medical instruments and without her asking for the exam. However, what set this last particular incident apart from the others, she said, was that he also began to massage her clitoris. During this vulnerable moment, she said she announced that she could hear her husband walking up to the room. After she said she heard her husband approaching, the woman testified that Dr. Rook immediately jumped away from her.
"He stood up real fast ... He looked scared," she said of the last time Rook allegedly touched her inappropriately after describing in detail the way he pushed his fingers "to and fro" inside of her without a glove on. "I was very emotional ... that made it very clear what was happening. It made it clear that he was molesting me."
If the encounters with Rook were as uncomfortable as the woman described, Benca said he wanted to know why she continued visiting his office week after week.
The woman said she suffered depression and that after her daughter died, Rook agreed to provide her with weekly counseling sessions.
Rook's wife and other family members sat directly behind him Wednesday as they supported him throughout the hearing. Dividing the courtroom were family members and other supporters of the alleged victims who testified against Rook throughout Wednesday's hearing.
Jurors, the defense counsel, prosecutors and Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Clawson Jr. will reconvene at 9 a.m. Thursday in Faulkner County Circuit Court. Thursday's hearing marks the fourth day of the sexual assault case against the long-time Conway doctor that is expected to last up to two weeks.