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Woman accuses Richmond chiropractor of sex crimes: 'I started crying while he was doing it'

Posted at 11:14 AM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 23:30:39-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A woman walked into the Advanced Wellness Center in Richmond's Museum District on May 17 looking forward to resuming treatment for back pain she has been suffering from ever since a pre-pandemic car accident.

"Since COVID happened, I hadn't been in for about a year," the woman, who asked her name not be published, said.

Within minutes of meeting fill-in chiropractor Dr. Michael Pollock, she said her mood changed.

"He unzipped my romper all the way down," she said.

"Had you ever been to a chiropractor before?" CBS 6 problem solver investigator Melissa Hipolit asked.

"Yes," the woman replied.

"Had they unzipped your clothing?" Hipolit asked.

"Never, never," she responded. "Then he was like, 'I just do things differently than most chiropractors do.'"

The woman said Pollock put his hands on her backside and breasts.

"I started actually crying while he was doing it," the woman said. "He kept rubbing himself on me, whether it was on my hand, on the side of me, hips in a side to side motion, while he was touching me."

Each time, she said he told her it was part of the treatment.

"When he went down he would say he was adjusting my hips and he bent my leg open, pulled my romper all the way down, exposed me, and had his fingers like he was trying to put his fingers inside of me, and I had to jump and pull my pants down," she said.

She said that an appointment that would normally take 15 minutes lasted over an hour.

"During the appointment, his assistant pulled him away a couple of times to let him know that he had clients waiting for him and that he was running past his time and that he needed to stop," the woman said.

And yet, she said he continued.

"I kept telling myself that he is a doctor, this could never happen," she said.

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She said she second-guessed herself and tried to rationalize what happened until the next day when she got a call from a number she did not recognize.

"I answered the phone, and it's Dr. Pollock," she said.

"He told me on the phone, he said, 'I noticed that you're not on my schedule for your next appointment and there are some things that only I can help you with, only I can work on with you.'"

The woman, who showed us a screenshot she took of the phone call, said Pollock then invited her to his personal office that night for treatment.

"He wanted me to come after his business was closed, and he would wait around until I got off of work," she said. "I got very scared. That means he took my information from where he saw me and took it with him and had it the next day and wanted me to come and see him."

That's when the woman decided to call the police.

Pollock has since been charged with four felony sex crimes involving this woman and a second accuser who said she was assaulted the same day.

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Mugshot of Dr. Michael Pollock

While this is the first time Pollock has faced criminal charges, as CBS 6 previously reported, he has a long history with the state Board of Medicine, which has been investigating sexual misconduct accusations against him since 1984.

"I was so upset, and I was so angry when I saw how many times he has been in trouble, and that he's allowed to have his own practice as nothing has ever happened," the woman said.

Over the years, the board imposed a variety of punishments including mentoring, therapy, and a requirement that Pollock has a female chaperone in the room when treating female patients.

In 2010, his license was suspended indefinitely, but later a psychiatrist testified that Pollock was not a sexual predator and not a danger to his patients. The board fully reinstated his license in 2013.

"The board needed to do something to prevent this chiropractor from continuing to prey upon women," lawyer Stephanie Grana, a partner at Breit Cantor Grana Buckner, said.

Grana is representing the woman in a civil case against Pollock.

She said she cannot sue the Board of Medicine or the Virginia Department of Health Professions.

"They are immune from liability for citizens," Grana said.

Grana and her client hope the board will at least re-evaluate how they handle their sexual misconduct cases.

"What do you want to say to the Board of Medicine?" Hipolit asked the alleged victim.

"That they're responsible. It's the board's fault, and they should have listened to multiple women talk about their experiences and take it seriously," the woman replied.

Dr. Pollock's attorney, James Maloney, has so far failed to respond to three requests for comment about his client.

The Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney said Pollock's next hearing date has not been set.

Diane Powers, a spokeswoman for the Board of Medicine said "the decisions of the board must be based on the totality of the evidence in a case and must withstand appeal in state and federal courts."

She also shared the following statement via email:

The focus of the Board of Medicine is the protection of the public. There is no number of actions in the Board's law or regulations that trigger an automatic revocation. The Board weighs the evidence in each case and makes a determination about the proper sanction based on what it believes is needed to protect the public. A licensee's public history with the Board can be considered when determining the sanction that will protect the public. Board Orders can provide punitive sanctions and educational sanctions. Punitive sanctions range from a reprimand, fine, terms and conditions, probation, suspension, to revocation. For unprofessional conduct that the Board believes can be modified, a requirement for further education may be added to a Board Order. Again, the protection of the public is the central focus of the Board, and its goal is to ensure that each practitioner is safe and competent to provide care to the patients of the Commonwealth.