State takes action against Merced dentist for sex crimes

December 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The state Attorney General has ordered a Merced dentist to stop practicing, at least temporarily.

At a hearing in Sacramento, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Phillips said Sang Park is a "sexual predator who has used his position of trust as a dentist and his dental practice to administer sedatives to at least one unsuspecting patient in order to sexually molest, photograph and sexually abuse this patient."

Dr. Sang Park has been under investigation since October. 4 victims have come forward and there are 6 charges against him, for sexual battery involving a restrained person and a sexual act prevented from resisting.

Phillips told Action News, "Sexual abuse by a dentist of their patient is an automatic suspension. We have to get in there now to suspend the license, to protect the public, to keep these perpetrators away from the public." He also says the cases are rare; so rare that the state acts quickly. "There was no decision making. It was, you see it, you know it was egregious and you have to take immediate action."

At the hearing, Phillips presented a transcript of a conversation between a victim and Dr. Park. The victim confronted the dentist and then recorded the conversation. She said, "I felt really sedated. And then I woke up and my pants were all the way down with my underwear... why did you do that?" Dr. Park responds on the phone saying, "I loved you, I mean at that moment, I really liked you." Phillips says the victim, "Thought she was getting one filling, instead of a local anesthetic, he knocked her out and woke up in the middle while she was being sexually abused."

Dr. Park's defense attorney tells Action News, several of the witnesses are former employees, and that his responses on the phone call were "consistent with a romantic and consensual relationship."

Prosecutor Rob Carroll says he's got a strong case, with strong evidence, although he also says these kinds of cases are rare. "I've never seen anything like this, it is, as a community member, it's disturbing, people in positions like that, you want to think you can trust them, it's disturbing."

His office was not open Monday afternoon. Another hearing is scheduled in Sacramento for December 18th. At that point, Dr. Park will be able to refute the Attorney General's claims and will be able to fight for his license.

He's since been ordered to refer his patients to other dentists.


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