The jury in the case of a McKinney chiropractor accused of sexually assaulting patients heard from the third and fourth former patients on Thursday.
Dr. David Russell is accused of sexually assaulting three minors and two adults in his practice.
During testimony, mother of a teen told the jury that she came home from work one day to find her special needs daughter crying and unable to sit down. The teen has learning disabilities and a language disorder, her mother said.
The mother said the teen’s grandmother had taken her to see Russell without the mother’s consent.
The teen had been complaining of pain in her lower back.
While on the witness stand, the former patient told the jury that her treatment by Russell hurt and it made her upset.
The teen testified that during the session, Russell touched her breasts and butt and, through her underwear, and inserted his finger halfway into her bottom.
The former patient added that she is now scared of chiropractors.
The defense pointed out that during the alleged encounter, the patient’s grandmother was present and sitting in a chair in the treatment room.
During cross-examination of the teen’s mother, defense attorney Todd Shapiro pointed out a time gap between the reporting of the alleged incident in 2012 and about six years before, when it allegedly occurred.
Witnesses for the prosecution say the teen’s disability may have prevented the outcry for several years.
A counselor who had interviewed the teen also testified that the mother had seen the initial news reports about Russell’s arrest and asked the counselor to mention the subject with the daughter, to see if she had experienced any abuse.
The counselor testified that the teen was uneasy to discuss Russell and was covering her face, saying she didn’t want to talk about it. The teen soon came forward with allegations of the chiropractor touching her tailbone, breasts and penetrating her rear end with a finger.
A fourth former patient also took the stand, calling Russell a one-time trusted family friend. She added that she had been seeing him for treatments for years during her childhood.
She said as she became older, the treatments changed.
“When my mother stopped being present with me, that was when Dr. Russell would start adjusting my ribs and it became much more uncomfortable for me at the time," she testified. “When Dr. Russell would go to adjust my ribs, he started putting his hands around my breasts on the outside of my shirt.”
The woman said the breast contact over the shirt began when she was about 15 years old. She said the contact under her shirt started when she was 16 years old, making her “grossly uncomfortable.”
She added that Russell subsequently "started to place his hands frequently under my pants."
She said he would also make comments, saying, "he liked the thong that I was wearing."
The former patient said that when she was wearing jeans, Russell would ask her to unbutton her pants so that he could adjust her.
The witness cried on the stand as she told the jury that Russell "put a finger inside of [her].”
"I was shocked, pretty sure I stiffened up," she said.
The former patient added that the encounter was very quick, but that Russell gave "no explanation as to what he'd been doing,” and proceeded as if "nothing had happened.”
She said Russell would often make comments to her about her appearance or asked if she had a boyfriend.
The jury also heard from an expert witness, Dr. Oliver Smith of El Paso, Texas, a licensed chiropractor in practice for more than 30 years.
Smith testified that a chiropractor should never go into a patient’s underwear to perform an adjustment or treatment. There is no reason to go underneath a patient’s clothing to perform any of the procedures described in court, nor is there a medical need to make contact with a patient’s breasts, Smith said.
During cross-examination, the defense showed several photos from a medical textbook depicting the chiropractic procedures performed by Russell during the incidences when alleged abuse took place.
The defense pointed out that in some cases, a chiropractor’s hand may be inches away from a patient’s genital region, or perhaps closer in the case of a smaller patient, like a child.
The defense has maintained that it is possible for a chiropractor’s hand to slip during an adjustment, causing accidental contact with a patient’s genital region.
Russell has maintained he never sexually assaulted any of his patients.