Merced dentist faces more claims

Felony charges filed as more step forward with sex allegations

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comNovember 27, 2012 

The Merced County district attorney's office filed felony charges Tuesday against local dentist Sang Hyuk Park, who was arrested last month for allegedly sexually abusing a sedated patient.

Prosecutors also revealed Tuesday more alleged victims have stepped forward with accusations against Park.

Merced police arrested Park again at his 3040 Park Ave. office Tuesday afternoon. The arrest happened after a felony warrant was issued, not long after prosecutors filed charges against him, according to Sgt. Scott Skinner.

Park was booked on five counts of sexual battery and one count of sexual penetration with a foreign object, according to jail officials.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Rob Carroll said a total of four alleged victims are now included in the complaint filed against Park. He said the three additional victims included in the complaint subsequently stepped forward to talk to detectives after the defendant's initial Oct. 30 arrest.

The four women included the district attorney's complaint against Park were all patients, Carroll said. One of the women had also filed a sexual battery complaint against Park with the Dental Board of California, prior to speaking with Merced police, according to Skinner.

The additional victims shared stories that were similar to the first woman who stepped forward with the accusations, Skinner said.

Park's first arrest last month happened after a patient contacted Merced police, saying she'd been abused while receiving dental work from the defendant. The woman told police she was in and out of consciousness, and awakened with her pants down and Park exposing himself.

Thomas Johnson, Park's Sacramento-based attorney, said he hasn't seen the complaint against his client, but said Park denies the charges.

Johnson said he was perplexed by the timing of the arrest, particularly because his client already was scheduled to appear in Merced County Superior Court this morning for an arraignment hearing, stemming from the accusations made by the first alleged victim.

"I consider highly unusual, and I don't understand it," Johnson said, regarding Park's arrest Tuesday.

Park remains at the Merced County Jail in lieu of $225,000 bail.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.