“Dr. Atkinson’s sexual abuse of Myisha and Shalan is particularly disturbing because he knew his conduct was illegal, yet he pretended like everything that he did, including feeling their breasts was part of normal chiropractic treatment” – Attorney John Winer.
WHAT: PRESS CONFERENCE
WHERE: WINER, McKENNA & BURRITT, LLP
1999 Harrison Street, Suite 600
Oakland, CA 94612
WHEN: 11:00 am Monday, June 11th
WHO: Attorney John D. Winer, Sexual Abuse Victims Myisha Kee and Shalan Hooks.
Oakland CA—This morning John Winer, senior partner of Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis filed a civil complaint in Contra Costa Superior Court against Pleasant Hill chiropractor David Atkinson, D.C. charging that Dr. Atkinson sexually abused multiple women including Winer’s clients Myisha Kee and Shalan Hooks.
Dr. Atkinson sexually abused Myisha Kee a 42-year-old African American with three children on a number of visits all in the guise of treatment. The abuse included: insisting that Myisha wear short shorts without any underwear underneath. At one point he put cream on his hand and said, “If I get fresh, just slap me.” He massaged her legs in a creepy sensuous manner while leering at her private area. On another occasion he ordered her to take off her shirt entirely When Myisha, feeling embarrassed crossed her arms over her breast, Dr. Atkinson chided her for being so shy. Dr. Atkinson then massaged her dropping his hand down to brush her breasts. On her last visit, Dr. Atkinson in a very salacious and obvious manner pulled Myisha’s breasts from her bra and began to cup and fondle her breast.
Ms. Kee who was working at Fed Ex, where she was injured and was sent to treatment by her attorney to Dr. Atkinson. She began treatment at the very end of December 2016 or the beginning of January 2017 and continued treatment until late November 2017. Myisha is currently going through a divorce, partly as a result of this abuse. At the time of the abuse, Myisha was living in Antioch and now lives in Hercules.
Myisha Key confided that ” I feel odd saying this as a woman in my 40’s, but Dr. Atkinson had in many ways taken away my innocence and has made it harder for me to trust all men, including my husband at the time.”
Shalan Hooks is a 46-year-old single Pittsburg African American woman with two kids who was on disability at the time that she began treatment with Dr. Atkinson. At the time of the abuse and now, Ms. Hooks was treated by Dr. Atkinson from April of 2017 to late June 2017.
“We are here by ourselves today, so if you scream no one will hear you!”
Dr. Atkinson on numerous occasions gave Shalan creepy, sensuous massages that included massaging between and on Shalan’s breasts. The doctor also asked Shalan to wear short shorts during treatment. Atkinson would hug her pressing up against her breasts. He intentionally entered the room when Shalan was putting her clothes back on and finally, one day stood behind her, reached underneath Shalan’s bra freed her breast, very much like with Myisha, and began fondling her breasts, then stopped and put her breast back in her bra. Eerily, on that day Dr. Atkinson stated to Shalan, “we are here by ourselves today, so if you scream no one will hear you!”
Shalan Hooks stated “I can’t believe he did this under the guise of treatment. If I knew it wasn’t treatment, I would have stopped him. But I didn’t know what chiropractors do, so I let him abuse me. I feel humiliated and disgusted and fooled.”
Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis are suing Atkinson for chiropractic negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, sexual battery and sexual harassment. Both plaintiffs felt that Dr. Atkinson’s treatment seemed weird and perverted but initially thought maybe Dr. Atkinson just had an unusual form of treatment and neither had been to a chiropractor.
John Winer charges that “In addition to Myisha and Shalan, we know of at least one other victim who hasn’t come forward yet and have reason to believe there is more.”
Winer goes on to say “It is just disgusting the way that Dr. Atkinson tricked these young women, and no doubt numerous others, into submitting to sexual abuse and made them feel crazy when they questioned his conduct.”
Having handled many health care provider sexual abuse cases, including chiropractor cases Mr. Winer has determined that Dr. Atkinson’s conduct was grossly inappropriate and took advantage of both patients vulnerabilities, not only has patients, but as plaintiffs in personal injury and worker’s comp cases for which they were dependent on Dr. Atkinson writing helpful reports for their cases.
“Dr. Atkinson’s sexual abuse of Myisha and Shalan is particularly disturbing because he knew his conduct was illegal, yet he pretended like everything that he did, including feeling their breasts was part of normal chiropractic treatment,” says Winer.
Winer further states “Myisha and Shalan were particularly vulnerable to Dr. Atkinson’s manipulation and abuse because they were not only patients in need of his medical care, but also they were told by their attorney that his testimony and reports would be critical to their injury cases and Dr. Atkinson knew this. He probably felt secure that the women wouldn’t want to harm their case by reporting Dr. Atkinson’s misconduct.’… .’It is particularly important in a very hands-on treatment like chiropractic, that the chiropractor, stays within the appropriate boundaries of his profession and not touch a patient inappropriately, because a patient can be easily confused as to what kind of touching is and isn’t appropriate. Even when Myisha and Shalan came in to see me, they still questioned whether it was or not suitable for Dr. Atkinson to remove their breasts from their bra and fondle them. Until I assured them it was never appropriate, they were concerned that they might have misinterpreted his intentions.”