Twelve more victims have been added to the case of a dental assistant accused of sexually assaulting women while they were under sedation, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s office.
Luis Ramos, 36, now faces 31 charges from a total of 13 alleged victims, and a judge ordered he be held on a $1 million bail. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Ramos was initially arrested on Feb. 4 on suspicion of inappropriately touching a 17-year-old girl while she was undergoing a procedure at the Park Boulevard Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Office in University Heights, where he worked.
Prosecutors announced Tuesday they have identified another 12 victims. Ramos is accused of touching their breasts, buttocks and groin between January 2015 and January 2016. One of the victims was in a wheelchair, the DA’s office said.
Ramos was charged with multiple counts of felony sexual battery of an institutionalized victim, which means he allegedly had skin-to-skin contact with an intimate part of the victim while she was unconscious due to anesthesia.
Prosecutors also charged him with misdemeanor sexual battery and felony sexual penetration of a person prevented from resisting by an anesthetic substance.
Dental surgeon Dr. Steven Podstreleny, for whom Ramos worked, previously told NBC 7 he is baffled that something like this could allegedly happen at his practice.
He said Ramos was “a stellar employee” and someone he looked to as a “work brother.”
Podstreleny released this statement Tuesday on the additional charges against Ramos:
"Dr. Steven Podstreleny remains shocked and deeply troubled by the allegations involving Mr. Ramos and continues to cooperate with the authorities in their investigation. Patient safety has been, and remains, his top priority. As noted in previous statements, the office has employed surveillance cameras to maximize patient safety and well-being. Dr. Podstreleny has provided all available information in this regard to the authorities and hopes the data from these safety measures will be beneficial to the appropriate administration of justice in this matter."
According to Podstreleny, at least one of the assaults was caught on security cameras posted around the office. The surgeon said he had the cameras installed in 2009 to provide an “extra layer of protection” for patients and as “an effort at transparency.”
Since Ramos’ arrest, San Diego police have been combing through more than 500 hours of surveillance video from the office’s recovery room where the assaults allegedly took place.