When you see a physician, dentist or podiatrist, you likely don't expect that doctor to be listed on Megan's Law, the website that provides information on registered sex offenders in California. But the NBC4 I-Team found that several doctors in Southern California are registered sex offenders and finding the information on the state's medical board website isn't that easy.
Patient advocates say the issue raises serious questions about transparency and one's ability to check out their health care provider.
One woman NBC4 spoke with asked us to protect her identity, but she wanted to talk about an event that forever changed her life.
"I think once you're violated or something like this happens to you, you're never the same," she said of the incident.
More than two decades ago, Dr. Kamal Matian cornered her in the break room of the Tarzana dentist office where she worked and put his hands down her pants.
"That's when I went into shock mode. I couldn't move. And he put his hand, his fingers inside me."
She said she doesn't remember what else happened, but she remembers running out of the office.
Someone at a nearby restaurant called police. The officers found her — hysterical — and brought her to the station.
She said if the police hadn't seen and stopped her, she would not have reported the assault.
"Because is anybody going to believe me? No," she said.
But a jury did believe her. Matian was convicted of felony sexual battery and genital penetration and misdemeanor false imprisonment. He was sentenced to six years in prison, but he only served three years. And less than five years after his release, he was again a practicing dentist in the San Fernando Valley.
Finding that information, however, takes multiple clicks on the dental board website, which is managed by the Department of Consumer Affairs. Nowhere on Matian's profile page does it disclose that he's a registered sex offender on California's Megan's Law website.
Matian, who now practices dentistry in Reseda, declined to comment on this story.
Dr. William Pfisterer in Glendora and Dr. Edgar Lluncor of Downey also show up on the Megan's Law website, but when you search the Medical Board of California, Pfisterer's license status shows "probation completed." Only after clicking on "More Detail" and scrolling down to "Decision" will you find information about him engaging in a lewd act with a child under the age of 14.
Pfisterer told NBC4 his conviction was 30 years ago. The radiologist has had no violations since and he plans to petition to have his name removed from the sex offender registry in 2021. That's when California Senate Bill 384 goes into effect, dividing Megan's Law into three tiers. Pfisterer's crime puts him in tier two and makes him eligible for removal.
In Lluncor's case, the medical board lists his status as "license renewal fee has not been paid. No practice permitted." But the gastroenterologist's record is much more complicated.
After a conviction in 2014 on multiple counts of sexual assault (a conviction that was upheld by the California Court of Appeals), the trial judge later dismissed the case because of juror misconduct. The prosecution refiled, but Lluncor was a no-show in court. There's now a warrant for his arrest and his page on the Megan's Law website shows he is "in violation."
Carlos Villatoro, the Medical Board of California's public information officer, said he does not think the board's site is linked to the sex offender registry.
"I mean it could be something that we look at," he said of linking the two.
The Medical Board is one of 37 different boards and bureaus that falls under the Department of Consumer Affairs, which regulates everything from barbers, cemeteries and contractors to doctors and dentists.
In response to why Matian's license status does not include that he is a registered sex offender, the board says: "Dr. Matian's accusations and decisions are public information and viewable on our website ..." They also pointed out that "the board does not have the legal authority to permanently revoke a license."
The woman NBC4 interviewed about the Matian incident says she is still traumatized by what happened more than two decades ago. That's why she decided to make her very private pain public.
"I'm so angry he's still practicing. I'm so angry he got his license back," she said.