Dentist Claims Breast Groping Was Part of TMD Treatment
A dentist in Woodland, California is claiming that he massaged women's chests as part of a treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMD or TMJ), a jury heard today.
The case against dentist Mark Anderson has been underway for 5 weeks before a 6-man, 6-woman jury panel in Yolo County, who heard that Anderson told female patients that touching their breasts was required for treatment. TMD affects the upper body muscles, and Anderson claimed that massaging the breast area would relieve pain and soreness.
Anderson faces 19 felony charges for skin-to-skin contact and one misdemeanor for touching a patient's breasts over her clothing. The incidents occurred between February 2005 and his arrest in August 2007 and brought complaints from 14 women.
One of the initial 20 felonies was dropped Monday as Rothschild and Deputy District Attorney Robert Gorman began closing arguments.
Anderson supposedly wrote out instructions for one woman's husband outlining how to perform the procedure at home, and even offered to have him come into the office so he could show him the technique.
Anderson's lawyer, Michael Rothschild, noted in closing arguments, "Molesters don't say to women, 'Go home. Get your husband. Bring him down here. I'll show him how I molest you.'" The jury also heard from Rothschild that some of the women had been sexually assaulted in the past, and some were taking psychotropic medications - and that their perception from the dentist chair was skewed.
District Attorney Robert Gorman countered that Anderson had reached into the bras of some women, and commented on their breasts in an inappropriate manner. In one taped conversation between an alleged victim/patient and Anderson, she confronts him and says that she felt violated. Anderson replies in the tape that he "went too far," and apologized, adding that he hoped she wouldn't go to the police.
Anderson, 49, was indicted based on the grand jury testimony of 14 accusers.
The felony charges stem from alleged skin-to-skin contact.
The single misdemeanor charge is based on one woman's testimony that Anderson touched her through her clothing.