photo Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Paramus NJ, Taking action to protect the public from a potentially dangerous child sexual predator, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today filed a motion with the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners (“the Board”) seeking reconsideration of the Board’s decision to allow reinstatement of the license of a Megan’s Law child sex offender. The Division is also instituting new protocols ensuring notice to the Attorney General and victims when a professional board is considering reinstating a revoked license.
Bryan Bajakian, a former chiropractor who practiced in Paramus, lost his chiropractic license in 2010 while he was serving a five-year term of imprisonment for luring or enticing numerous underage girls on the internet in attempts to have sex with them, and for illegally possessing a firearm.
In the 2010 Order revoking Bajakian’s license, the Board cited his criminal conviction and further found that Bajakian had engaged in sexual misconduct toward an underage patient online; sent and received sexually explicit materials to underage girls online; engaged in other conduct that would debauch the morals of a child; possessed child pornography; and repeatedly violated a 2005 interim Board Order by continuing to treat patients under the age of 18 without the presence of a Board-approved monitor.
Bajakian was released from prison in November 2010. He remains subject to parole supervision for life and must remain registered as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.
After previously denying Bajakian’s bid to return to practice in 2018, the Board reversed course and unanimously voted to reinstate Bajakian’s license, finding him now fit to practice. Unless the Board reconsiders its action, as requested by the Attorney General, Bajakian can begin practicing once the Board files the reinstatement Order.
In a motion filed today, the Attorney General is challenging the Board’s decision, which was made without notice to the public and without notice to – or input from – the attorneys who represent the Attorney General in such matters.
“There is no way a dangerous, convicted child sexual predator should ever be allowed to work as a healthcare provider in our state, and certainly no way that a decision to re-license such an individual as a chiropractor should ever be made in secret, without the input of his victims or my office,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Bryan Bajakian’s heinous crimes and other misconduct rightly convinced the Board to revoke his license in 2010 — a decision that should never have been reversed. We will do everything we can to prevent this Megan’s Law offender and others from returning to practice. That is precisely why in February, I called on all professional licensing boards to work with our Division of Consumer Affairs to reexamine fully how they handle disciplinary decisions involving sexual misconduct and abuse, and to engage with the victims of such misconduct before any decisions are made. Public safety demands nothing less.”
The Attorney General’s motion argues that the Board must reconsider its “flawed” decision to permit Bajakian’s return to practice for multiple reasons, including:
the Board erred in affording Bajakian the opportunity to reapply for his license when it is “explicitly clear” from the language of the 2010 Order revoking Bajakian’s license that the Board did not give Bajakian the right or pathway back to practice;
the Board based its decision to reinstate Bajakian’s license on “palpably incorrect information” and “an incomplete, unreliable, and palpably incorrect” psychosexual evaluation that was inadequate to find him fit to resume chiropractic practice; and
the Board failed to appreciate the significance of Bajakian’s multiple transgressions before the Board, that the evidence of his “egregious conduct” demonstrates that he lacks the requisite good moral character and fitness required of a licensed chiropractor in the State of New Jersey, and that he would pose a danger to the public if reinstated.
In arguing that the Board relied on a flawed psychosexual evaluation, the Attorney General asserted that the doctor who conducted the evaluation failed to review all required documents, including but not limited to prior Board orders against Bajakian and the Verified Complaint containing the State’s allegations against him.
The Attorney General further asserts that the evaluating doctor made an “unsubstantiated and uninformed conclusion” based on “the half-truths and self-serving testimony given to him by” Bajakian. Those statements included Bajakian’s false assertion that he “never met anyone and never tried to meet anyone,” a statement directly contradicted by admissions Bajakian made during his plea hearing.
Similarly, the Attorney General argues that the Board failed to appreciate that Bajakian lied to the Board during his Investigative Inquiry, testifying that he “never solicited anyone to physically meet outside of the Internet chat rooms,” when in fact, during his plea hearing, Bajakian admitted to, on multiple occasions, discussing possible in-person meetings with underage females, even offering to pick up an underage female from her home and suggesting his Paramus office location as a meeting place.
The Attorney General contends that Bajakian’s continued dishonesty during the Board’s reinstatement process further underscores not only why the Board’s decision is flawed, but also why it threatens patient safety.
The Board also failed to appreciate that, in 2016, Bajakian violated the terms of his Megan’s law parole by joining an adult internet site and, most importantly, the Board failed to give sufficient consideration to Bajakian’s underlying egregious criminal conduct of luring minors for his deviant prurient interests.
“The Board’s paramount duty is to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the public and this decision represents an egregious dereliction of that duty,” said Paul R. Rodríguez. “The Division of Consumer Affairs has made it a top priority to ensure all our professional Boards treat allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct by licensees with the gravity and importance they deserve. Our action today underscores the importance of this mission. We beseech the Board to use common sense and sound legal judgment by reconsidering a decision that would expose the public to extreme risk. Not only has this doctor been found to have engaged in heinous conduct, he has been found by the Board to have previously violated board orders that sought to prevent him from seeing minors, of attempting to use his office to lure minors for illegal purposes, and having shown a pattern of attempting to mislead the board.”
In addition to the Attorney General’s action in the Bajakian matter, the Division announced today that it is immediately putting into place new protocols to ensure that professional boards provide the public with appropriate notice and give interested parties an opportunity to be heard before a board chooses to reinstate the license of an individual whose conduct was sufficiently egregious to warrant the suspension or revocation of their license.
Under these new protocols, boards are required to notify the Deputy Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs and the attorneys representing the Attorney General in such matters upon receipt of a notice of an intent to seek reinstatement from any individual whose authority to practice the profession was previously discontinued following entry of a disciplinary order for reasons other than impairment.
Each board also will include notice of requests for reinstatement on the public meeting agenda before such requests are considered by the board or one of its committees. In addition to that public notice, the board must attempt to inform all known victims/complainants of the reinstatement request and provide them with instructions on how to submit information for the board’s consideration. The boards also must give the Attorney General an opportunity to present information relevant to the board’s consideration.
The professional and occupational boards housed within the Division of Consumer Affairs are independent regulatory bodies whose members are appointed by the Governor, some of which are additionally subject to Senate confirmation, and are charged with protecting the public and the integrity of licensed professions by licensing individuals, promulgating regulations, and imposing discipline on licensees.
The Division of Consumer Affairs of the Department of Law and Public Safety provides staffing support to the boards to assist them in carrying out their functions. Deputy Attorneys General in the Division of Law’s Professional Boards Prosecution Section represent the Attorney General and the Division Director in prosecuting cases before the boards on disciplinary matters, for which the board serves as the decision-maker.
Deputy Attorney General Nisha Lakhani of Professional Boards Prosecution Section of the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group is representing the Attorney General in the Bajakian matter.