Dr. James Lee Carl

MILTON — The state has temporarily suspended the license of a Milton chiropractor accused of sexually assaulting four female patients at his office, saying the allegations against Dr. James L. Carl make him “an immediate and clear danger to public health and safety.”

The Pennsylvania Department of State’s Board of Chiropractic issued the immediate suspension Tuesday, according to documents sent to The Daily Item Thursday from the Department of State.

Carl, 35, of 1254 White Hall Road, Turbotville, faces numerous counts of indecent assault and indecent exposure after four women — three of whom were allegedly attacked on the same day, June 14 — came forward with allegations of assault at Carl’s Milton office.

Carl was arrested and charged June 15 on the first two cases, and charged July 7 on the second two. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing Monday before District Judge Robert Bolton and is free on $125,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Northumberland County Court on Aug. 29.

Shawn Smith, prosecuting attorney for the state’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, petitioned the Board of Chiropractic to suspend Carl’s license, including as evidence copies of the criminal complaints and dockets filed with Bolton, affidavits of probable cause and incident reports filed by the Milton Police Department.

In its order, the board stated if the allegations are “taken as true, (they) establish at each and every count that the continued practice” of Carl “presents an immediate danger to the public health and safety.”

The order calls on Carl to surrender his wallet card, registration certificate and wall certificate to the Board of Enforcement and Investigation upon his receipt of the order. Copies of the suspension order and notice of hearing were sent via certified mail to Carl’s office and home, according to the documents.

It is not known how the state agency or board became aware of the charges against Carl. Typically a complaint filed against a license holder is how the state becomes aware, but there are a variety of means, including law enforcement and news accounts, that bring an issue to the agency’s attention, said Ronald Ruman, press secretary for the Department of State.

Ruman was clear that the board conducts its own investigation before deciding to suspend a license.

“When these cases do happen, we develop our own set of evidence and investigate the matter before a decision is made,” he said.

There are about 830,000 licensed professionals in Pennsylvania, Ruman said. In an average year, there are about 1,000 complaints filed against license holders; after investigation, less than half of 1 percent of those are found to be valid, he said.

Examiners are to schedule a preliminary hearing for Carl within 30 days of the order’s issue; the order is dated July 12. If a prima facie case is established, the temporary suspension will remain in effect for no more than 180 days unless otherwise ordered.

Besides the temporary suspension, Smith, the prosecuting attorney for the state’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, will begin a separate action to suspend, revoke or restrict Carl’s license, according to the documents.

— Email comments to esocha@dailyitem.com

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