Two dentists take over Park practice

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comDecember 20, 2012 

— Two dentists are taking over the practice of Sang Hyuk Park, who's accused of sexually abusing four women.

The name of the practice will change to Olive Dental Care, a receptionist confirmed Thursday.

Dentists Mark Davis and Greg O'Connor will take over Park's practice, according to a letter mailed by Park to his patients this month.

"You may be aware that there have been allegations recently made against me, which I vehemently deny," Park states in the letter. "I have every intention of being fully vindicated of these accusations, however I must focus all my time and energy to meet this challenge."

According to the letter, Davis has practiced in the valley for more than 20 years, and O'Connor has practiced in Merced for 15 years.

This week, Park had a hearing in Sacramento to ask for a modification to his temporarily suspended license, so he could practice under certain restrictions. The state's Office of Administrative Hearings in Sacramento won't make a decision until Wednesday. The court could decide to allow Park to treat only male patients with a chaperon, or it could keep the suspension in place.

An administrative law judge temporarily suspended Park's license earlier this month.

Park has provided Davis and O'Connor with patients' records and X-rays, along with dental insurance plans to ensure that there's no disruption in the continuity of care, according to the letter.

The state Office of the Attorney General brought a case against Park on behalf of the state's dental board because of the criminal case pending against him in Merced County Superior Court.

Four women told Merced police they were sexually abused, some while sedated, when they were patients at his office. Park, who's facing six counts of sexual abuse, remains free on bail.

The Dental Board of California plans to file an accusation seeking to permanently prevent Park from practicing. Officials plan to file the accusation soon.

Defense lawyers Robert Zimmerman and Andrew Larsen are representing Park before the dental board. They have denied the accusations against Park.

After the ruling later this month, both parties will have time to investigate the allegations.

The parties then will come together to discuss their findings, according to defense lawyers.

At that point, there will be a full hearing on the merits of the case. The hearing will include witnesses and documents. That's when the administrative court will issue a full decision.

Park was arrested in late October after a woman contacted Merced police, saying she'd been abused while receiving dental work. The woman told police she had been in and out of consciousness but awoke to find that some of her clothing had been removed and to see Park exposing himself.

Three additional women subsequently came forward to report similar allegations, prosecutors said.

The women claim that they were inappropriately touched. Others claimed Park took inappropriate pictures of them while in his care.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or yamaro@mercedsunstar.com.