Records show Richmond area chiropractor’s history of sexual assault allegations

Crime
Michael Pollock,

Michael Pollock, a local chiropractor, was arrested in connection to a sexual assault allegation made in Richmond. The office pictured is his current office in North Chesterfield. He currently holds an active license. (Photo: 8News)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Public records indicate that a Richmond area chiropractor, who was arrested and charged last week in connection to a sexual assault, has a history of allegations and a license suspension.

Richmond Police arrested 66-year-old Michael Pollock in relation to an incident that happened in the northwest part of the city on May 17.

Authorities said Pollock is suspected of three counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of object sexual penetration, linked to an incident at a space where he normally doesn’t treat patients. His current office is in Bon Air on Forest Hill Avenue.

During the course of his career, records show Pollock’s office location has changed at least five times between Richmond and North Chesterfield.

Public records on the Virginia Department of Health Professions indicate there have been several incidents involving sexual misconduct and Pollock’s license being suspended.

Pollock’s license was first issued on January 16, 1981. Since then, his license has been suspended once.

In 1984, records show an informal conference committee within the Virginia State Board of Medicine recommended that Pollock cease and desist from the use of controversial chiropractic methods and “be admonished from over-diagnosing” after allegations of improper diagnosis.

Fourteen years later in 1998, a woman came forward saying a rectal examination performed by Pollock was “sexual in nature.” Pollock admitted he engaged in sexual misconduct with the woman during the examination and became sexually aroused.

According to the Virginia Board of Medicine, because Pollock took “appropriate corrective action” in relation to the sexual misconduct in 1998, the board chose not to impose any sanctions against his license to practice.

In 2003 the informal conference committee, composed of three members of the Virginia Board of Medicine, looked into allegations that Pollock engaged in a sexual relationship after first treating a woman in July 2000. According to a notice by the board, the woman was employed at Pollock’s chiropractic office in Richmond in October 2000. The personal relationship began the following in November 2000.

Pollock later said in an evaluation that he may have failed to appreciate the implications of entering into a personal and sexual relationship with his patient.

Also in 2003, the committee looked into allegations that Pollock engaged in sexual misconduct with another patient after examining her for complaints of lower back pain in October 2002.

The notice said, “before and during your examination of her, you made inappropriate comments to Patient B, and you touched Patient B during your examination in a way that made her feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.”

The committee also noted that during that same examination, Pollock asked Patient B to bend over as he placed his hands on her waist. Pollock then pressed the front of his lower body against hers from behind as she was bent over.

The evaluator recommended Pollock continue treatment with a mental health professional. Pollock’s license to practice was not taken away, but he was placed on indefinite probation and ordered to have a “female chaperone” present during exams.

In 2004, the Department of Health Professions found at least 10 instances where a female patient’s record didn’t indicate that a chaperone was present during an exam.

The following year, the committee determined that Pollock’s explanations regarding documentation discrepancies with the patients’ records were “reasonable.” They said he took a board-approved course in maintaining proper boundaries in April 2004 and participated in a monthly support program.

Pollock’s license was reinstated to its full status in 2005 – he was no longer on probation.

Five years later in 2010, allegations arose that between January and June 2009, during treatment of one patient, Pollock performed breast exams “outside the scope of the practice of chiropractic interpreted as intended for his sexual arousal or gratification.”

Pollock’s license was “indefinitely suspended” on September 30, 2010.

Dr. Graenum Schiff, Pollock’s psychiatrist, came forward in 2012 and said that Pollock “is not a sexual predator” and that he does not believe Pollock “is any danger to his patients.”

His therapist, Dr. Patricia Parham, said Pollock’s previous “decision to complete a breast exam was not sexually motivated but primarily was a professional boundary violation in terms of being outside his scope of practice, as determined by the board.”

Following the comments from both doctors, an order said Pollock submitted a “Personal Ethics Protection Plan” which included that chiropractic adjustments would be changed from closed-room to open-room and would have chaperones.

Due to the comments from both doctors and Pollock’s submitted plan, in 2012 the board decided to reinstate his license, but not to its full status. His reinstatement was subject to completing continuing education in the subject of professional ethics and patient boundaries within six months, along with terms and conditions including:

  • Pollock was required to complete 100 hours of mentoring with a board-approved chiropractor.
  • The mentor was required to submit a written report to the board regarding Pollock’s performance.
  • Upon returning to chiropractic service, Pollock was required to meet with a board-approved therapist twice a month.
  • The board-approved therapist was required to provide monthly reports regarding Pollock’s progress.
  • Pollock was also required to have a chaperone present when seeing female patients and document those appointments.

In 2013, public records show the terms and conditions against Pollock’s license were removed and his license was returned to its full and unrestricted status.

8News reached out to the Virginia Dept. of Health Professions for comments on Pollock’s license and practice.

Michael Pollock’s license to practice chiropractic was still currently active as of June 22. (Photo: Virginia Dept. of Health Professions website)

Diane Powers, director of communications with the department, responded to our inquiry, saying “By law, complaints and investigations of the Board are mandated confidential. Therefore, the Board can neither confirm nor deny that a complaint or investigation exists on a specific practitioner.”

The Board also declined 8News’ request for an interview.

Richmond Police are asking other possible victims to come forward. For Richmond incidents, call Major Crimes Detective N. Reese at (804)-646-0712.

For Chesterfield incidents, call Chesterfield Police at (804)-748-1251. People can also call Crime Stoppers at (804)-780-1000.

Correction 6/23/21: A previous version of this story stated incorrectly the number of times Pollock’s license to practice was suspended. Additionally, his license was not terminated.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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