Mark Machala, an Ashland chiropractor has been charged with a 3rd degree misdemeanor of sexual abuse after fondling a patient’s breasts during a massage treatment.
Machala is awaiting trial on the charge which is expected to take place in December. His license to practice medicine has been suspended by the Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Machala has described the incident as an “honest mistake” and ceased his actions once he realized the woman was unreceptive. Of course, this is an unacceptable defense in this case since Machala has a duty of care which he breached.
According to a document filed by the board, compiled from Ashland police reports, Machala allegedly deviated from the victim’s massage treatment and began caressing her. “She felt something was wrong but just froze,” the document said. “She lay still not knowing what to do.” The victim opened her eyes when she felt Machala fondling her breasts, which had been covered by a towel at the beginning of the massage. Machala covered her back up and “nonchalantly” apologized, according to the document ordering Machala’s suspension. The victim later noticed Machala was visibly aroused, prompting her to speak up and ask him, “Is this common?” the document alleges.
The board has asked anyone with additional information to contact Investigator George Finch at 503-373-1615 or Health Care Investigator Frank Prideaux at 503-373-1848.
While there are no public disciplinary actions in Machala’s file since his license to practice chiropractic medicine in 2009, there may be more victims who have been subject to his unwanted and criminal advances. In sexual abuse cases, it is often the courage of one victim that spurs others to come forward with similar experiences. Doctors, like lawyers, priests and all those who hold positions of public trust must be held accountable when their actions betray that fundamental trust.