LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A local dentist accused of sexually assaulting a teen patient sues the police who put him behind bars.
Jose Turcios, founder and owner of Healthy Smiles dentistry, was arrested by Little Rock Police in March 2015. A 14-year-old female patient accused Turcios of kissing her and fondling her breast during a dental procedure where she had received a small dose of gas during the treatment. Turcios’ dentistry license was suspended, then reinstated, following the accusations.
A Pulaski County jury acquitted Turcios of the charge after a public trial a year later. The lawsuit alleges that detectives working on the case mishandled the investigation by failing to include and follow up on important facts revealed during questioning of the accuser. Furthermore, the complaint alleges Turcios was never interviewed, nor surveillance footage from his dentist practice sought, until after he was arrested.
The complaint alleges conflicts of interest during the investigation, with one of the police officer’s involved standing to economically benefit. The complaint alleges the officer’s wife is a dentist in Little Rock and competitor of Turcios.
“Det. Michael Lundy’s wife, a dentist, was a business competitor of Dr. Turcios, and the couple sought to damage his professional reputation and steal his patients,” said attorney Mike Laux via press release.
The lawsuit also alleges that two of the investigators working on the case were romantically involved during the investigation, and later married after the investigation was completed.
“Det. Tabitha McCrillis and Inv. Andrea Carter conspired to fabricate and propagate lies in order to spend professional, taxpayer-funded time together, growing their romance. Since Dr. Turcios’ arrest these two have become a married couple, with Det. McCrillis now legally going by the name Tabitha Carter,” Laux said.
According to the complaint, Turcios was arrested in front of his 8-year-old son at a Little Rock Health Club; his license was suspended, putting his professional reputation in jeopardy; and the allegations caused financial and emotional strain on Turcios and his family.
The press release further contends that Turcios was maliciously prosecuted, at least partly, based on his Latino-American heritage.
“The arrest and prosecution of Dr. Turcios was a complete travesty of justice, accomplished with lies and by concealing exculpatory facts to obtain an arrest warrant. That defendants’ actions were malicious and racially-motivated is shown by the recent charges filed against Dr. James Nesmith, a white pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting juveniles for a period of 15 years who was allowed to turn himself in when finally confronted after years of alleged abuse,” Laux said.
Click here to read the full complaint.
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