Acupuncturist allegedly sexually abused patients, police say

EVERETT — An acupuncturist was arrested this week for investigation of sexually abusing patients at his Everett-area practice and claiming the conduct was treatment.

Kuo Ching Yee, 79, of Mercer Island, has touched female patients inappropriately, sucked on their breasts and engaged in other unwelcome sexual conduct, according to a police report and a search warrant filed in the Everett Division of Snohomish County District Court.

He was booked into the county jail in Everett on Wednesday for investigation of three counts of indecent liberties.

It’s the second time that Yee has faced sexual misconduct allegations since being licensed to practice acupuncture in 1986, records show.

Between 1990 and 1992, the state Department of Health investigated reports that Yee had inappropriately touched female patients, asked them about their sex lives and engaged in other unwelcome conduct. Yee kept his license after entering a 1992 agreement with state regulators. Among other conditions, he sought a sexual deviancy evaluation and agreed to only treat female patients in the presence of a woman who could monitor his conduct.

Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Lars Teigen learned that Yee has had a monitor on staff but the woman has not always been present when he was treating patients and has health problems that limit her mobility.

One of the women Yee now is accused of mistreating told the detective she went to the acupuncturist for treatment from 1998 to 2012, according to the police report. She described three incidents where she believes she was sexually assaulted by Yee.

The woman “stated the sexual interactions were uncomfortable and not consensual, but happened because Dr. Yee stated they were part of her treatment,” the police report said.

In an April 8 affidavit filed for to obtain a search warrant for Yee’s offices, the detective said the woman stopped seeing the acupuncturist after it became clear his actions were not intended to be treatment. She decided to come forward with the allegations after reflecting on what she says happened.

The state Department of Health also has opened a new investigation of Yee, the affidavit said.

With a judge’s permission, detectives on Wednesday seized records Yee kept on some of his patients, court papers show.

Among other things, the investigators are looking for evidence of how well Yee complied with the state’s requirements that he not treat women without a monitor.

“Failure to comply with Department of Health requirements which were imposed because of very similar allegations would be strong evidence of Dr. Yee’s ongoing pattern of misconduct as described” by the woman, Teigen wrote.

The detective said in his police report that he has received witness statements from four people about Yee’s alleged misbehavior and lack of compliance.

“I spoke with multiple other witnesses that were too distressed to make an official statement or whose statements have not been returned to me yet,” Teigen wrote.

Scott North: 425-339-3431, north@heraldnet.com

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