A dentist in Los Angeles, California, has been charged with sexually abusing nine of his patients and has been accused of preying on women from low-income and immigrant communities.
Fifty-year-old Emad Fathy Moawad of Marina del Rey faces nine counts of sexual battery by restraint, three counts of sexual penetration by use of force and one count of attempted sexual penetration by use of force.
According to the criminal complaint, the charged assaults occurred at Moawad's dental office on Beverly Boulevard and Normandie Avenue between 2013 and 2018. The victims range in age from 27 to 73 years old.
"This case is especially concerning because its victims are low-income people and immigrants who are less likely to report crimes due to fear," Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a press release. "We are asking other possible victims to come forward and help us keep our community safe."
Moawad appeared in court on Monday, but his arraignment was continued to Wednesday.
The charges come on the heels of a lengthy investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department sex crimes detectives in conjunction with the department's West Bureau.
In 2019, a female patient sued Moawad in Los Angeles County Superior Count for sexual battery, sexual harassment and sexual violence.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the lawsuit alleges that Moawad first brushed against the female patient's breast during a dental visit in October 2017.
Weeks later, the filing states she returned for a deep cleaning that was performed under anesthesia, during which Moawad allegedly put his hand up her shirt and repeatedly touched her breasts.
Per court documents, the woman responded by yelling at him and then telling his dental assistant and secretary about the alleged assault. "We know, but can't do anything about it," the secretary replied, according to the lawsuit.
The woman returned to the dentist in August 2018 because of an issue with her veneers. She alleges that while under local anesthesia, Moawad put his hands inside her underwear and rubbed her vagina. She resisted, according to the filing, but he held her down until she managed to run out of the room, allegedly covered in blood.
In December of that same year, a dental assistant filmed a video of a similar instance of sexual assault. Her goal, states the lawsuit, was to put an end to his alleged attacks.
Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the LAPD's Operation West Bureau – Special Assault Section at 213-473-0447.