Dentist charged in assault continues to see patients

Professional board to investigate case

Ellicott City

January 28, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

An Ellicott City dentist charged Thursday with sexually assaulting one of his anesthetized female patients will continue to practice while the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners decides what, if any, action to take against him.

Evan Carmo DePadua, 37, turned himself in to Howard County police Thursday and was charged with a fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault, both misdemeanors. He was released later that day on his own recognizance.

DePadua was back at his Centennial Square Office Park suite in the 10300 block of Baltimore National Pike the next morning to see patients.

The waiting room was empty around midday Friday, and after an older patient left about 1 p.m., office employees stopped answering the phone.

A bulletin board with about a dozen Christmas and thank-you cards and photographs of patients showing off their new smiles hangs near the reception desk inside the suite.

According to the charging document, DePadua administered nitrous oxide to a 22-year-old female patient Jan. 19, unzipped her pants and rubbed her thighs "in an up and down fashion and in a manner that made her feel uncomfortable," the charging document states.

The dentist, who had just adjusted the woman's braces, told her he was performing a test for a jaw disorder, the charging document states.

DePadua and the woman were alone in the examining room during the incident, she told police. DePadua's office records do not show that he performed a test for a temporomandibular joint disorder on the woman that day, the charging document states.

Howard County detectives began their investigation when the woman came to police headquarters in Ellicott City about 5 p.m. Jan. 19 to report that she had been assaulted by her dentist that day, said county police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn.

Police spoke with the woman several times and "confirmed her story through an investigation that included speaking with the dentist," Llewellyn said.

DePadua submitted to a polygraph test Thursday and later "provided police investigators with a confession confirming [the woman's] allegations," according to the charging document.

Police are asking DePadua's patients to contact them if they believe they have been victimized, Llewellyn said.

"We do not know whether or not there are other victims," she said. "We'll await to hear from the public, but this particular case is moving forward."

The Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners is aware of the charges against DePadua, and interim program manager Kimberly Mayer said the case likely will be discussed at the board's next meeting Feb. 6.

DePadua has been licensed in Maryland since July 1997, Mayer said.

Typically, when a complaint or charge is filed against a dentist, the board considers it and can decide to pursue its own investigation, Mayer said.

At the completion of its investigation, the findings are considered by the board, and an "appropriate action" is taken, she said, which can include a revocation of the dental license.

She declined to discuss details of the DePadua case.

Llewellyn said she could not recall another Howard County dentist being charged with sexually assaulting a patient.

Last month, a Bethesda dentist was charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl while she was anesthetized.

David Fuster, 45, of Damascus, was charged with second-degree rape after the girl said she was assaulted on a couch in the dental office basement Oct. 10.

In another case, Howard Frederick Rudo, 63, a Glen Burnie dentist, was convicted of second-degree assault Feb. 9 for kissing two female patients, ages 16 and 24.

DePadua's trial is scheduled for April 3 in Howard County District Court.

If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500 for the second-degree assault charge, and up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 for the sex offense charge.

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