Lawsuit: Snohomish chiropractor sexually abused girl, 14

A young woman filed a new civil case against Kenneth Parker, a former Snohomish chiropractor accused of abusing over 20 patients.

SNOHOMISH — Two women have filed civil lawsuits against a Snohomish chiropractor accused of sexually touching over 20 female patients — one of whom was 14 years old when the abuse began, according to the newest lawsuit.

Kenneth Parker, 62, of Marysville, was first licensed to practice as a chiropractor in 2001. He was charged earlier this year with eight counts of felony sexual misconduct by a health care provider. More than a dozen other women have come forward saying they were sexually assaulted during medical appointments.

The new lawsuit says he began abusing the teenager in 2014.

The former patient often saw Parker weekly at Chiropractic Health & Wellness Center in Snohomish, according to court records. She sometimes saw him twice a month. During visits, Parker inappropriately touched her breasts and other parts of her body in a sexual way, according to the complaint.

Parker acted like he was “trained in a specialized chiropractic technique, and that his care was standard in that practice,” the complaint reads.

She stopped seeing him in 2021.

After news broke in May that Parker had been arrested for investigation of indecent liberties by a health care professional, the former patient received notice from the chiropractor’s office that her past unpaid bills had been forgiven.

The woman filed the lawsuit in November against Parker and the Chiropractic Health & Wellness Center. The complaint says the young woman “suffered mental anguish and severe emotional distress” due to Parker’s actions.

Kevin Hastings is an attorney representing the former patient. He told The Daily Herald this week that the case is particularly egregious because he betrayed the trust patients give medical professionals.

“Kenneth Parker’s patients were not medically trained, and had no reason to suspect that he was anything other than an ethical chiropractor: they trusted him to be professional and to put their health first,” the attorney said via email.

Hastings said Parker used his position of power to identify those who were least likely to blow the whistle, and that he used his practice to gain “nearly unfettered access to a steady stream of potential victims.”

“The main limiting factors for perpetrators of sexual abuse are access, opportunity, and evading detection,” Hastings said. “Dr. Parker had a trifecta of factors that gave him nearly free reign to sexually abuse patients with impunity. The tragic reality is that the total number of those he sexually abused is likely multifold more than those we know about today.”

Another former patient, in her 60s, had filed a civil lawsuit against Parker earlier this year, in May, on the same day the chiropractor was formally charged. She reportedly started seeing him for treatment in 2019 after she suffered an injury at work. She was one of the women who made reports in the criminal case.

Parker inappropriately touched the patient in an aggressive way, according to the complaint. Parker reportedly assured the patient it was part of proper chiropractic care.

She told family about Parker’s “techniques.” She stopped seeing him.

Other women later described a similar pattern of abuse, and some recounted being reluctant to come forward because they had signed waivers saying they consented to Parker’s touching. The eight women listed in the criminal charges ranged in age from their 30s to their 60s.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health charged Parker with unprofessional conduct in 2019, accusing him of sexually touching three women who were patients. He did not face criminal charges at the time.

The longtime chiropractor ultimately admitted to the health department’s charges, and he signed an order in January agreeing to a nine-month suspension to begin Feb. 25.

But he continued to see patients. Parker notified one woman, in her 30s, that his license was suspended, but that he was still willing to hold “free” appointments for friends and family, the criminal charges say. She reported he groped her at an appointment in April, according to court papers filed by deputy prosecutor Bob Langbehn.

Parker was arrested in May, initially for investigation of six counts of indecent liberties. That number grew as more women came forward. His bail was set at $250,000.

Court papers show Parker is being represented by David Marshall, a Seattle attorney. He did not return a Herald reporter’s request for comment this week.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Marysville man remained behind bars in the Snohomish County Jail.

Anybody with information about alleged abuse by Parker can contact the Snohomish Police Department at 360-568-0888. Or call 911.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen.

Need help?

If you or someone you know needs a safe place to talk about sexual violence, you can call the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network at 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673). The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The national organization has compiled a list of safety advice for medical settings:

It’s OK for the examiner to:

• Explain each part of the exam to you before and while it is happening.

• Use gloves.

• Encourage you to tell them if something feels wrong or uncomfortable.

• Be the same sex as you, if you have asked.

• Only ask you to undress the part of your body being examined.

It’s NOT OK for the examiner to:

• Refuse to answer your questions or tell you to be quiet.

• Examine private parts without gloves.

• Refuse to tell you what they are doing or why they are doing it.

• Decline to have another person in the room with you.

• Insist that you undress parts of your body they are not examining.

• Ask you questions about your sexual activity that makes you uncomfortable.

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