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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

September 17, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Everett optometrist accused of molesting young patient

Update at 8 p.m. | A judge set bail at $750,000 for John Patrick O’Brien, the Everett optometrist accused of fondling a 10-year-old girl during an eye exam. He remained in custody Wednesday night.

An Everett optometrist accused of fondling a 10-year-old girl during an eye exam was arrested Tuesday for investigation of child molestation, sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Everett police say they continue to investigate the optometrist, a 33-year-old Bellevue man who recently moved from North Carolina. Police believe there could be additional victims, said Everett police spokesman Aaron Snell. “We don’t have any specific evidence to believe there is, but we believe there is a good potential for additional victims,” Snell said.

The Seattle Times is not naming the optometrist because he has not appeared before a judge for probable-cause hearing. The hearing is scheduled to be held in Snohomish County District Court on Wednesday afternoon.

According to an Everett police report:

The girl’s father took her to the optometrist for an eye exam  on Aug. 20. After the girl’s eyes were dilated, she was sent to the waiting room. When she was called back in, the optometrist told the girl’s father it should only take a few minutes and he didn’t need to join them.

In the exam room, the girl said, the doctor asked her to take off her shirt and her pants. When the girl questioned him, he told her he needed to “check her symptoms,” the police report said. Through her dilated eyes, the girl said she saw a repeated flashing and what appeared to be a cellphone pointed at her, the report said. The girl told police that the optometrist yanked her clothes off and fondled her.

The girl said she was scared and didn’t tell her father what happened, but told her mother almost immediately when she got home, the report said. The parents took the girl to the hospital for an examination, and police were notified.

When police presented the girl with a photo montage, she identified the optometrist as her attacker. When interviewed by police, the optometrist said he remembered the girl but denied the allegations, police said.

The optometrist was initially arrested Sept. 11, but was released while police continued to investigate, according to the report.

Police rearrested the doctor Tuesday at his Bellevue home after obtaining a warrant to search his phone. Police say they found images of the girl’s naked body, the report said.

“When we were able to gather evidence, mainly from the phone, we arrested him,” Snell said.

| More in The Blotter | Topics: child molestation, Everett Police Department, optometrist


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