Ex-Shands doctor pleads guilty to attempted molestation

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James Phillips appears in court on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Former Shands Jacksonville Medical Center doctor James Phillips pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of attempted lewd and lascivious molestation involving two young girls.

The charges were reduced before the plea agreement.

Phillips, 46, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, placed on 10 years of probation, ordered to undergo psychosexual counseling, and have no unsupervised contact with children younger than 18.

He was also ordered to not live or work within 1,000 feet of a school or day care center or any place where children congregate, stay off the Internet, and submit to electronic monitoring.

According to an arrest report, a girl was babysitting for Phillips last summer. Phillips told her he was trying to get a massage therapy license and needed to give free massages to get it, according to the report.

Phillips convinced the girl to lie down naked on the bed and started rubbing her with a lubricating oil, according to the report. It happened on a day when Phillips' wife was out of town, the report says.

Defense attorneys said an affidavit did not give Phillips' intent in giving the girl a massage. Defense attorney Marcus Barnett said it was a "legitimate massage by a medical doctor. The girl's a swimmer," he told a judge, "sore muscles and joints."

Phillips was an employee with the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville since July 2002, first as a resident and then as an assistant professor of adult internal medicine in the Department of Medicine. The allegations did not involve patient care and did not occur on Shands Jacksonville or UF property, officials said.

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