Alleged sexual abuse prompts lawsuit against Merced chiropractor

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new lawsuit accuses a Merced chiropractor of turning treatment into unwanted sexual contact and aims to put the doctor out of business.

Dr. Jaimal Sangha is headed for a trial on three sex crime felonies.

But the victim who reported him in February 2020 is frustrated he's still practicing, and she has now filed a civil lawsuit.

The young woman in the North Valley will never forget her February 2020 visit to the Advanced Chiropractic and Sports Clinic.

"It was really strange, bizarre, and even during the assault I didn't quite know that it had become an assault until that moment where you're like 'Oh my God. This is happening,'" she said.

Because of the nature of the criminal charges, we're not identifying the victim by name, but she agreed to a Zoom interview with slightly blurry video.

She's a UC Merced graduate student and a competitive power lifter who went to Dr. Jaimal Sangha because of minor injuries.

Her attorney says she had an experience similar to a lot of American gymnasts.

"His sexual abuse techniques were very Larry Nassar-like in that Larry Nassar did what he did under the guise of treatment," said plaintiff's attorney John Winer.

The woman said the way Dr. Sangha touched her was confusing, but eventually, he left no doubt.

So after freezing momentarily, she stopped him.

She tells me the initial embarrassment made her feel like she couldn't say anything, but she reported it to police.

They arrested Sangha and prosecutors charged him.

He has pleaded not guilty and his criminal defense attorney told me they're fighting the charges.

The woman's civil lawsuit accuses Dr. Sangha of sexual battery and harassment.

It says she wasn't the first victim, but she and her attorney say they want her to be the last.

"She went to him for help and instead of help, he decides he's going to pleasure himself at her expense and that's disgusting," Winer said. "It's unethical and it's wrong and it's damaging. He needs to be stopped."

"I feel really bad that women are being victimized out there," the woman said. "And this is a scary scenario. I just really don't think professional creeps should be practicing."

The state Board of Chiropractic Examiners website provides a link to some information about doctor's criminal case, but he's still allowed to practice for now.

A judge in his criminal case prohibited him from treating female patients without a female employee in the room.
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