Hemet Chiropractor Found Guilty of Groping Patients

By City News Service

A Hemet chiropractor who groped two female patients during physical therapy sessions was convicted Wednesday of misdemeanor charges.

A Murrieta jury deliberated two days before finding 49-year-old Dr. Jeffrey Richard Marrs guilty of three counts of sexual battery against the women, identified in court records only as Jane Does No. 1 and 2.

Marrs is facing up to 18 months in jail when he's sentenced by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez on July 31. The defendant is free on $500,000 bail.

According to the District Attorney's Office, he came into intimate contact with the women in the summer of 2012. One of them works as a clerk in the sheriff's correctional division and was the first to report the molestation.

She told Hemet police investigators that after several visits to the doctor's office, his behavior changed, and he began hugging and kissing her -- unsolicited -- every time she walked into the Florida Avenue location.

During a mid-August visit, Marrs escorted her into a closed room and had her lie face-down on a massage table, where he proceeded to give her a rub down, according to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Steve Stout.

"(Marrs) began massaging her lower back, just above her buttocks," Stout wrote. "While doing so, he slid both his hands beneath her shorts and underwear and began to massage her buttocks ... He proceeded to massage her upper inner thigh area, under her shorts, to within inches of her vagina."

According to the woman, Marrs had her change positions, enabling him to graze "her inner groin area" during the session. The defendant also fondled her breasts and "kissed her bottom lip," according to the prosecution.

The woman did not return for her follow-up session but instead reported the encounter to a detective, triggering an investigation that led to a second victim.

Jane Doe No. 2 told police that she had several uneventful appointments with the doctor, receiving treatment for a pinched nerve. However, during her last couple of sessions, she felt uncomfortable because of how she was touched, Stout said.

"On a visit, the defendant was performing an adjustment and grabbed her buttocks under her pants," the prosecutor said. "When asked if anything more had happened during any of her other visits, Jane Doe 2 described an incident where the defendant ... inserted a finger into her vagina."

Marrs voluntarily went to the Hemet Police Department after an investigator asked to speak with him. Stout said that during the interview, Marrs admitted inappropriately touching both women, suggesting he couldn't help himself with Jane Doe No. 1 because "she's very pretty and ... attractive."

The defendant's wife told the detective that she had witnessed her husband feeling Jane Doe No. 2's buttocks and confronted him about it in the office later, eliciting a promise from him that it wouldn't be repeated, Stout said.

The D.A.'s office originally filed felony sexual battery charges against Marrs but later amended the criminal complaint to make them misdemeanors.

Marrs' chiropractic license was restricted in July 2013, preventing him from practicing until his case is resolved. According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, he became a licensed practitioner in 1996.

He now faces the revocation of his license.

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