CHICAGO (STMW) – An elderly orthodontist pleaded not guilty Tuesday to fondling a 13-year-old patient last summer at his Northwest Side office.

Ernest Panos is charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and one count of unlawful restraint, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

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He pleaded not guilty before Judge J.G. Kazmierski, she said.

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 is free after posting $20,000 bail, 20 percent of a $200,000 bond. On Dec. 6, Judge Donald Panarese modified conditions of the bond after Panos’ attorney argued the 80-year-old Harwood Heights man should be allowed to make a living.

However, Panarese warned that Panos must be accompanied by a licensed nurse when he is treating any patient under the age of 18.

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Ninety percent of Panos’ patients are under 18 and after being charged, he was initially forced to turn down helping children with “painful root canals” and “bleeding mouths from messed-up wires on their braces,” attorney Brunell Donald-Kyei said at the bond hearing.

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

But Asst. State’s Atty. Kathleen Muldoon argued that Panos should not be working with any children under any conditions, pointing out that a complaint that was “sexual in nature” was filed against him with the Illinois Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulations in 1990.

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

A status hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 24.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)