James Eli Shiffer, the Star Tribune’s watchdog and data editor, digs into data and documents to uncover the news. Reach him at 612-673-4116, james.shiffer@startribune.com or follow him on Twitter at @jameselishiffer. Tell us what to investigate. Send your story tips to whistleblower@startribune.com.

Sex offense conviction would end chiropractor's career

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer Updated: July 17, 2014 - 4:31 PM

The arrest last week of a Little Canada chiropractor on charges of sexually assaulting a patient followed a long disciplinary record with the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners, my colleague Chao Xiong reported. The records showed that Paul D. Thompson had a history of improper touching patients, and an evaluator for the board reported in 2004 that Thompson had "interpersonal and sexual behavior problems." While the board had taken disciplinary action, Thompson had never faced any criminal charges.

If Thompson is convicted of a sex offense, the board will not be allowed to give him his license back. That wasn't always the case. In 2010, the Star Tribune reported how a chiropractor went back into practice after serving time in jail for assaulting patients. The board said it was required to do so under state law that encourages the rehabilitation of ex-offenders.

With the support of the Minnesota Chiropractic Association, the Legislature voted that year to require the board to withhold licenses from anyone convicted of most sex offenses. The Board of Medical Practice, which licenses doctors, already has that policy. This year, the Legislature extended a similar ban to the Board of Nursing, which licenses the largest number of health professionals in Minnesota, after a Star Tribune investigative series revealed that some nurses were convicted sex offenders.

Lawmakers considered at one time extending the ban to all health licensing boards, But for now, they seem content to restrict professions one at a time after revelations that sex offenders are once again trusted with patients.

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