California dentist Mark Anderson has surprised many in his trial for 19 felony counts and one misdemeanor for fondling patients. He claims that his massaging of the chests of various female patients was a legitimate part of a medical treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ.
Police recorded Anderson as saying that the routinely massaged patients’ chests to treat TMJ, which causes neck and head pain.
Anderson has previously tried to get an administrative judge to allow him to continue to treat patients to support his seven children and pay for his defense, but was denied.
What is interesting is that most of the women continued to return to Anderson for regular visits, though one said that she took to wearing tight and high collar clothing to try to keep Anderson from getting his hands beneath her clothing. The fact that most of the women returned after the alleged assault makes this a unique criminal case.
The prosecutors have relied heavily on their strong pool of witnesses, revealing that Anderson allegedly commented to a patient that she had “nice breasts.” In another, he asked if she had implants and complimented the patient on her breast augmentation.
A total of 27 women came forward with similar allegations and the counts are based directly 14 of those alleged victims.
His counsel Michael Rothschild argued that this was not a case of a doctor who cared too little but cared too much, noting that he suggested that they do home and try this with their husbands:
“In his naive effort . . . which I have called stupid in my opening statement . . . to relieve pain, Dr. Anderson had embarked on a journey through a minefield, . . . This is not a molester, folks. If you have sexual intentions, you don’t tell people to go home and tell their families about it,If a lay person at home can do it, so can Mark Anderson. Or at least so he thought.”
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