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Chiropractor accused of rape still allowed to practice

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota chiropractor accused of sexually assaulting a patient still has an active license to practice and is allowed to see patients during the investigation, reports CBS Minnesota.

Paul Thompson was arrested two weeks ago after a 27-year-old female patient told police he raped her during an appointment in early May, according to the station.

The criminal complaint reportedly states Thompson admits to his actions and apologizes for them.

A note on Thompson Chiropractic in Little Canada, a Twin Cities suburb, says he's out of the office. But according to the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners, Thompson can still practice.

"As an American citizen, they have constitutional rights, and so we can't just go in and kick their doors down and stop them from practicing," Larry A. Spicer, an executive director of the board, told CBS Minnesota.

Thompson was disciplined twice before for inappropriate contact with patients, going back to the late 80′s. He was placed on probation and had to have a third party in the room during exams. Those stipulations ended in 2009, according to CBS Minnesota.

Spicer said sexual complaints are given top priority, especially in a field where close contact is common.

"The doctor needs to let the patient know what they're doing. They need to get the permission of the patient to do that. If the patient has questions, those questions need to be answered," Spicer said.

Spicer said a patient has the right to ask for someone else to be in the room during an exam, and can ask if their chiropractor has been the subject of a complaint or disciplinary action.

"If there's a previous background, then that information is online, certainly they can seek that out. But if there's an ongoing investigation at that time, then yes, it is possible that the public may not know during the time we're investigating," Spicer said.

Spicer said there are 3,000 licensed chiropractors in the state, and the board receives about 150 to 200 complaints each year, of which 2 to 3-percent are sexual in nature, reports the station.

All sexual complaints are turned over to the Attorney General's office, said Spicer.

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