CHICAGO (STMW) – An elderly orthodontist accused of fondling a 13-year-old patient will be allowed to treat underage clients at his Northwest Side office, a Cook County judge ruled Monday.

However, Judge Donald Panarese warned that Ernest Panos must be accompanied by a licensed nurse when he is with any patient under the age of 18 while he remains free on bond.

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Panarese modified conditions of Panos’ bond after Panos’ attorney argued that the 80-year-old Harwood Heights man should be allowed to make a living.

Ninety percent of Panos’ patients are under 18 and since he was charged late last month, he has had to turn down helping children with painful root canals and “bleeding mouths from messed up wires on their braces,” Brunell Donald-Kyei said.

“He has a right to work even in the face of the allegations,” she said.

Assistant state’s attorney Kathleen Muldoon argued that Panos should not be working with any children under any condition, pointing out that there was complaint that was “sexual in nature” filed against Panos with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations in 1990.

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Muldoon did not elaborate. According to department records, Panos was never disciplined for any wrongdoing.

Last August, a teenage girl said Panos pressed down on her breasts with his arms and fondled her for several minutes while she sat in a dental chair at his office at 4849 N. Milwaukee Ave.

During the exam, Panos allegedly told the girl, then 13, that she was “gorgeous and hot” and blew kisses at her. The two were alone when the assault occurred, prosecutors said.

Panos was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

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