Trial Begins for Dentist Accused of Molesting Gymnasts

RIVERSIDE – Trial proceedings got under way today in the case of a former Temecula dentist accused of having sexual relations with two girls he coached in gymnastics.

Dr. David Martinus Reiakvam, 44, could face more than 50 years in prison if convicted of 13 counts of lewd acts on a child under 15 and two counts of oral copulation of a child under 18.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Ronald Taylor today began hearing defense and prosecution motions regarding witnesses and scheduling for the trial. Jury selection is expected to start Tuesday.

The defendant allegedly molested and engaged in sex acts with girls he taught at the Empire Acro Gym on Market Street and a separate facility near Vine Street and Mission Inn Avenue, both in Riverside.

The two alleged victims, who are now in their mid-20s, lived with Reiakvam and his then-wife, Sherry, at their Riverside home at the time, according to Deputy District Attorney Debra Postil, the original prosecutor in the case.

Riverside police Detective Laura Ellefson, who testified at the defendant’s October 2011 preliminary hearing, said the first girl alleged Reiakvam had intimate contact with her during bedside chats, when he would come into her room and play the ”touching game.”

According to Ellefson, between 1998 and 2000, Reiakvam’s interaction with the girl escalated into alleged oral copulation and frequent fondling, eventually leading to ”full-blown” sexual intercourse on a regular basis when the girl was 15 years old.

The other alleged victim was molested beginning at age 13, when Reiakvam came into her room at night to fondle her, according to testimony.

Postil said the molestation eventually led to “mutual” oral copulation.

The alleged acts with the second girl occurred between 2000 and 2002.

According to Postil, one alleged victim maintained a sexual relationship with Reiakvam into adulthood.

The defendant lost his job as head of gymnastics at the Empire Acro Gym because of an unrelated episode with another girl, the prosecutor said.

Reiakvam, who began practicing dentistry in 1998, failed to renew his dental license earlier this year. The Dental Board of California had placed restrictions on his practice in January 2011, prohibiting him from accepting patients under 18 years old until the resolution of his criminal charges.

Reiakvam is free on $200,000 bail.

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