A North County doctor contracted to evaluate patients for the Department of Veterans Affairs was arraigned on sex assault charges relating to five female patients Wednesday, at least four of whom are veterans.
The alleged incidents happened in 2015 and 2016, and at least one allegedly occurred at the QTC Medical Group in Oceanside.
Dr. Edgar Manzanera faces five felony counts of sexual penetration. His alleged victims are between the ages of 24 and 54.
According to a complaint filed last Friday, Manzanera was alone with one woman when she was asked to strip to her underwear and put on a loose-fitting gown. The accuser's attorney says "there was no medical reason" for her to disrobe given the evaluation she was getting.
The claim also notes the doctor told her to hold her gown higher until it was over her head and "maliciously and offensively" touched her, leaving "scratches and bruises" on her body.
"This doctor violated the trust that these women who have ties to the military had in him," Deputy District Attorney Claudia Plascenia said. "They went to QTC to receive medical treatment and what happened to them was unacceptable. They were sexually abused by this individual who held himself out to be a physician and abused that trust."
QTC Medical Group's parent company, Leidos, denies they allowed patient mistreatment to continue once they were aware of the allegations.
In a written statement to NBC 7, Leidos wrote: "Allegations of this kind are an affront to all that we stand for as a company. Individuals referred to us for assessments are served with the utmost care. While we can’t comment in detail on the matter due to ongoing investigations, we can share that when questionable conduct by this subcontracted provider was brought to our attention nearly two years ago, we immediately terminated the relationship with the provider and fully cooperated with authorities."
The Medical Board of California has suspended Manzanera's medical license during criminal court proceedings.
Because the charges relate to veteran patients, they’re also being investigated by the VA's Office of Inspector General and the Medical Board of California.
If convicted on all counts Manzanera could spend 14 years in prison.