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S. Kitsap dentist given a clean bill of health

Charges of misconduct were withdrawn recently against a Port Orchard dentist accused of unprofessional behavior with patients, according to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

Taylor Stair, the disciplinary manager for the DOH, said the dentist license of Joseph Eric Janaszak, 42, was “summarily restricted” last January after at least two adult female patients alleged he had sexual relationships with them, and pursued them to the point of harassment when they tried to disengage.

During the investigation, Stair said a third female patient came forward with the same claims, but prior to a scheduled disciplinary hearing, the case against Janaszak dissolved.

“One witness decided to withdraw, then a second said she had a vacation planned (at the time of the hearing) and wouldn't be able to testify,” Stair said. “The third woman, who was not one of the original complainants but was discovered by investigators, said she was willing to be a witness, but not a complainant.

“From the department’s standpoint, after that there wasn’t enough to go forward,” she said, explaining that her department withdrew the charges and Janaszak’s license was restored in March.

“His record was expunged, and a search of his record will reveal there is no action on his license and there never was any,” she said.

Janaszak’s lawyer, John Versnel, said his client’s record may have been expunged, but his practice — which he still operates in Port Orchard — has been damaged.

“Quite frankly, it has had a significant affect on his practice,” Versnel said, describing the state’s investigation as “poor and half-cocked.

“They didn’t follow through and check all the facts,” he said. “Then they decide, ‘nevermind, we can’t prove our case’ and then withdraw the charges as if nothing ever happened.”

Janaszak was accused of having sexual relationships with at least two women while both were patients, according to the statement of charges filed by the DOH’s Dental Quality Assurance Program.

The case was investigated by health care investigator Chyma Miller-Smith, who reported that Janaszak became involved with both patients in 2005, then both relationships ended in January of 2006.

Each patient claimed that after she attempted to end her relationship with Janaszak, he then pursued her by calling repeatedly.

The charging documents alleged that Janaszak “(showed) a pattern of misconduct with adult female patients (and not maintaining) appropriate professional boundaries.”

The health department then recommended that Janaszak be “immediately restricted ... from (seeing) female patients 12 years of age or older, (though) there is no evidence that female patients below the age of 12 are at risk at this time.”

Versnel said although the DOH released a statement in January announcing his client’s suspension, it was not until after repeated requests from his office that the department announced the charges against Janaszak had been withdrawn.

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