A local woman was awarded $750,000 in civil damages Wednesday after a jury found that a Medford chiropractor sexually abused her during a procedure in 2010.
Robert Tallman was working at the Northside Chiropractic Clinic on North Riverside Avenue when the incident occurred, according Tom Petersen, who represented the woman in Jackson County Circuit Court.
"This woman went there to receive help for her back and ended up being sexually abused," Petersen said.
The woman was referred to the clinic by a friend.
The clinic was owned and managed by Glenn Gaumer. The woman's friend said she had received good care from Gaumer.
The victim phoned the clinic and asked to be seen by Gaumer. However, when she arrived that the clinic Tallman met her in the waiting area and escorted her to a treatment room.
Tallman never identified himself during the incident, and the woman was led to believe she was being treated by Gaumer.
The woman, who is in her 40s and declined to be named in this story, was asked to disrobe by Tallman when she entered the treatment room.
Tallman when began to massage the woman's inner thighs and then her vagina.
All the while he kept whispering, "getting closer, getting closer" to the woman as she lay on the operating table.
"It was like a mantra he was reciting," Petersen said. "It was pretty disgusting."
The woman did not understand why Tallman was touching her in this way, considering she was there to receive back treatments.
She phoned a chiropractor she knew in another state and asked about what had just occurred. The chiropractor told her there was no reason for Tallman to touch her private areas in such a way.
She later told mental health experts that she was intimidated by Tallman and felt violated that he used his position of authority to take advantage of her.
In the complaint filed in court, Petersen said the woman suffered "extreme humiliation, fright, horror, grief, shame ... embarrassment, anger ... and emotional pain" after the incident.
"He was dealing with a naive, trusting person who really did not know what was going on at the time," Petersen said.
An investigation into Tallman's past revealed that he left his previous clinic in Corvallis after women there accused him of similar conduct.
The woman called Medford police and reported the incident. Tallman was later convicted of third-degree sexual abuse and was ordered to register as a sex offender.
In addition, his chiropractic license was revoked, Petersen said.
Petersen claims that Gaumer did not do due diligence upon hiring Tallman at his clinic.
Gaumer settled a case with the victim earlier, but Petersen declined to comment on the amount he agreed to pay in damages.
A six-person jury — five men and one woman — found in favor of the victim Tuesday and found Tallman liable for $120,000 in economic damages for medical treatment and $630,000 in general damages, Petersen said.
Petersen was satisfied with the conclusion of the case, but he personally feels sorry for the victim.
"She is a single mother and a hard working woman," Petersen said. "Her life is really turned upside down." Correction: A typo in this story has been fixed.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email email@example.com.