Chiropractor with history of sex offenses faces new charges, lawsuit and licensing action

By: - May 31, 2022 12:09 pm

An Iowa chiropractor with a history of sex offenses has agreed to stop seeing patents due to new criminal charges of assaulting a minor. (Photo illustration by Iowa Capital Dispatch)

A state-licensed chiropractor with a history of sex offenses has agreed to stop seeing patients due to new criminal charges alleging he assaulted a minor in his clinic.

Court records indicate that in April, Bruce Lindberg of the Family Chiropractic Clinic in Ottumwa was charged by police with simple assault. Prosecutors allege he provided chiropractic services to minor without permission, and then hugged the victim and kissed the victim on the top of the head. The victim “found the contact to be offensive,” according to prosecutors.

Lindberg has entered a plea of not guilty in the case.

Last week, the parents of  the alleged victim, who is a 10-year-old boy, filed a civil lawsuit against Lindberg. The suit alleges that in February, their son accompanied an adult friend of the family to Lindberg’s Ottumwa clinic. Without the permission of the child or his parents, Lindberg allegedly took the boy into a private examination room, instructed him to remove his shirt, and began massaging his back with lotion.

The lawsuit claims that at the conclusion of the massage, Lindberg hugged and kissed the boy and told him he was “beautiful,” “adorable” and “the prettiest boy in the world.”

The boy allegedly reported Lindberg’s conduct to his parents and, according to the lawsuit, Lindberg subsequently apologized to the family. The lawsuit accuses Lindberg of assault, battery, malpractice and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Lindberg has yet to file a response to the lawsuit.

Lindberg’s attorney in the criminal case is now seeking a change of venue, noting that articles about Lindberg’s past convictions and a screenshot of Lindberg’s past placement on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry were posted online recently in the wake of Lindberg’s April arrest.

“Commenters shared Dr. Lindberg’s prior placement on the Sex Offender Registry to support their claim that because Dr. Lindberg offended in the past, he must have offended this time as well,” the motion for a change of venue states. “The public engagement with media coverage of Dr. Lindberg’s arrest shows that the community has largely and unfairly formed opinions about Dr. Lindberg’s guilt. Not only have they formed opinions of his guilt, but they have disseminated a significant amount of detail about Dr. Lindberg’s prior offense, which would not be admissible at trial.”

A hearing in the case is scheduled for June 9.

Previous allegations of abuse

The available court records indicate that in June 1989, Lindberg was charged with five counts of lascivious acts with a child. Seven months later, additional charges of indecent contract with a child and lascivious acts with a child were filed.

Then, in April 1990, prosecutors and Lindberg agreed to a deal that resulted in him pleading guilty to two counts of indecent contact with a child and two counts of indecent exposure. In court, he admitted that he touched a child who was then under the age of 14, in the groin area for his own sexual satisfaction.

Lindberg was then sentenced to six years of probation, subject to a number of conditions including one that stipulated he was to provide an annuity of $5,000 for each of the eight children he had allegedly abused.

Court records indicate the victims in the 1989 case were minors, some of whom were high school athletes, and that some were patients of Lindberg.

After his conviction, Lindberg was excluded from the Medicare program. He later appealed that decision to an administrative law judge who ruled against him. In his decision, the judge wrote that Lindberg “did not confine his sexual misconduct with these children only to situations where the illicit touching occurred under the guise of legitimate chiropractic treatments. He often engaged in sexual molestation of children in the sauna at his home, while engaged in water sports, and in his car while driving the children to their homes.”’

Months after he was convicted in the 1989 criminal case, the Iowa Board of Chiropractic initiated disciplinary proceedings against Lindberg. Despite the nature of the criminal charges and Lindberg’s admission to the court, the board accused Lindberg only of making lewd or suggestive “remarks or advances” to seven minors who were his patients. As part of that case, Lindberg agreed in 1991 to surrender his license indefinitely pending the completion of counseling and periodic evaluations.

At some point, the board reinstated Lindberg’s license.

Last week, the board, citing the arrest in April, announced it had reached an agreement with Lindberg. The board has agreed to refrain from initiating any disciplinary action against him while the criminal charges are pending. At the same time, Lindberg has agreed to voluntarily refrain from practicing chiropractic, which technically means his license has now been suspended.

The suspension is to remain in effect until the order is lifted by the board.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.