Snohomish chiropractor accused of sexually touching patients

Six people reported Dr. Ken Parker touched them inappropriately. Some reports were years old. Some were new.

SNOHOMISH — Six former patients have accused a Snohomish chiropractor of sexual misconduct at his clinic, where detectives suspect Dr. Ken Parker had been practicing in spite of a suspended license, the sheriff’s office reported Monday.

Police arrested Parker, 61, for investigation of a single count of indecent liberties by a health care professional on Thursday. He remained in jail Monday with bail set at $250,000.

Parker, of Marysville, has held a chiropractor’s license since 2001. Public records show the state Department of Health suspended his license in late 2019, when three women reported Parker had “inappropriately” touched their breasts during visits to his clinic from 2016 to 2018.

The women accused him of making inappropriate comments and asking two patients to undress while he stayed in the room.

At the time, no criminal charges were filed.

Early this year, Parker admitted to allegations of unprofessional conduct. He signed an order Jan. 21, where he agreed to stop practicing for at least nine months. After the suspension, he could ask to be reinstated with special conditions, such as keeping a female chaperone in the room at all times, and only treating “currently established female patients,” rather than new ones.

About a week later, a woman’s insurance provider referred her to the Chiropractic Health & Wellness Center at 127 Avenue C for an appointment with Dr. Mark Kossian, a chiropractor who had worked with Parker.

On intake paperwork, the woman noted it was her first time seeing a chiropractor. For the entire appointment, the woman believed she was being treated by Dr. Kossian. But it was Dr. Parker.

She only learned this when she looked up the clinic after the fact, because the doctor mentioned he had been reported for his touching in the past.

According to a Snohomish detective’s report filed in court Thursday, “Parker offered no explanation as to why he performed the examination in place of Dr. Kossian.” The woman recounted how the doctor started with about 10 minutes of “small talk,” then a series of “rubbing, pinching, gripping and pulling motions,” according to a detective’s report.

The woman reported the doctor touched her breasts multiple times in various positions.

At one point he made a “meandering, awkward” speech about how her spine was like a river, and mountains guide rivers, the detective wrote.

She asked him if he was referring to her breasts.

“Yes,” he said, according to the detective’s report.

He continued touching her chest in different postures, the woman reported.

“See, it wasn’t bad, was it?” he reportedly said, near the end of the visit.

Parker told the woman he was glad she understood his technique, because he had been reported for inappropriate touching in the past, “which he thought was a product of the ‘Me Too’ movement,” according to the detective’s report.

The woman asked if he was still being investigated, according to the police report. Parker reportedly explained the pandemic had made it difficult to find someone to replace him. As the appointment ended, Parker was “seemingly reluctant for her to leave, and repeatedly referring to the fact that he ‘had’ to touch her breasts.”

The woman looked up Dr. Kossian that evening. Instead, she found she had been treated by his business partner.

The woman called police on Feb. 3.

Weeks later, on Feb. 23, 2021, the Department of Health order became public. It noted Parker needed to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation before getting his license reinstated. If approved, the state would keep him on probation for four years, and he could face random audits.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that Parker faces six counts of indecent liberties, a sex crime defined by state law.

At least one criminal allegation was linked to an earlier report to the state Department of Health, according to the sheriff’s office.

Other women came forward about inappropriate contact during chiropractic sessions “in recent months,” the sheriff’s office reported Monday.

“There is a complaint of sexual assault against him as recent as 4/19/2021,” Snohomish detective Stuart Gort wrote in his report last week.

Investigators have not released a more specific timeline of the allegations.

Gort arrested the chiropractor Thursday. At first Parker reported he remembered the woman from the January appointment, but then said he did not, according to the detective’s report.

Parker denied certain specific allegations, but agreed his technique would have put his hands close to the woman’s breasts. He “would not or could not” recall if the patient signed a waiver prior to any sexual contact, the detective wrote.

Judge Thomas Wynne found probable cause to hold Parker behind bars Friday.

A brief autobiography on the clinic’s website says Dr. Parker suffered from a back condition while working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. Chiropractic treatments healed him with no side effects, he wrote. Later his young son underwent spinal treatments that, in Parker’s opinion, cured his asthma.

“You see I took this profession to heart so much that I needed to help others in the same way that it helped me that’s why I became a Doctor of Chiropractic,” Parker wrote.

The clinic’s site says Parker spent countless hours studying “the art of manual manipulation of the soft tissues, making him truly unique in his field and a valued asset to his community.”

A Daily Herald reporter’s phone call to Parker’s clinic went to voice mail Monday.

Snohomish detectives say they believe there may be other victims who have not come forward yet.

To make a report, contact the Snohomish Police Department at 360-568-0888. Or call 911.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; Twitter: @snocaleb.

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