MURRIETA – A Hemet chiropractor who groped two female patients during physical therapy sessions was sentenced on Thursday, Aug. 20 to a year in jail.
A Murrieta jury last month convicted 49-year-old Dr. Jeffrey Richard Marrs of three misdemeanor counts of sexual battery against the women, identified in court records only as Jane Does No. 1 and 2.
Marrs was facing up to 18 months in jail, but Riverside County Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez suspended sentencing on one of the three counts. Bermudez also moved the sentencing hearing date up one day at the request of the defense.
The judge ordered that, upon his release, Marrs register as a convicted sex offender under Penal Code section 290, which requires registrants to keep law enforcement informed of where they’re living and not accept employment that could put them in contact with potential victims.
Marrs, who had been free on bond, was immediately remanded into custody to begin serving his time at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, the defendant came into intimate contact with the victims in the summer of 2012. One of the women works as a clerk in the sheriff’s correctional division and was the first to report the molestation.
She told Hemet police investigators that after several visits to the doctor’s office, his behavior changed, and he began hugging and kissing her – unsolicited – every time she walked into the Florida Avenue location.
During a mid-August visit, Marrs escorted her into a closed room and had her lie face down on a massage table, where he proceeded to give her a rub down, according to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Steve Stout. He said Marrs massaged her lower back and allowed his hands to slide “beneath her shorts and underwear,” rubbing her inner thigh “to within inches of her vagina.”
According to the woman, Marrs had her change positions, enabling him to graze “her inner groin area”‘ during the session, the brief stated, adding that the defendant also fondled her breasts and “kissed her bottom lip.”
The woman did not return for her follow-up session but instead reported the encounter to a detective, triggering an investigation that uncovered another victim, Jane Doe No. 2.
The second woman told police that she had several uneventful appointments with the doctor, receiving treatment for a pinched nerve. However, during her last couple of sessions, she felt uncomfortable because of how she
was touched, Stout said.
“On a visit, the defendant was performing an adjustment and grabbed her buttocks under her pants,” the prosecutor alleged. “When asked if anything more had happened during any of her other visits, Jane Doe 2 described an incident where the defendant … inserted a finger into her vagina.”
Marrs voluntarily went to the Hemet Police Department after an investigator asked to speak with him, according to Stout. He said that during the interview, Marrs admitted inappropriately touching both women, suggesting he couldn’t help himself with Jane Doe No. 1 because “she’s very pretty and … attractive.”
The D.A.’s office originally filed felony sexual battery charges against Marrs but later amended the criminal complaint to make them misdemeanors.
Marrs’ chiropractic license was restricted in July 2013, preventing him from practicing. According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, he became a licensed practitioner in 1996.