A Southern Utah chiropractor has been charged with twenty counts of sexual assault… but police think he may have victimized others, especially since some of the women who reported him say they weren’t initially aware they were being assaulted.
Brent Noorda found his victims through his chiropractic practice and used his medical status to convince them that his actions were simply part of professional examinations.
Employees noted that Noorda had a habit of commenting on patients’ and staff members’ bodies. During exams, patients said that he touched their breasts and genitals inappropriately, representing his actions as a normal part of his chiropractic work. One of his co-workers also complained that he would often put his hand down her skirt while they reviewed paperwork.
A patient who discovered that she had been assaulted only after she began to see another chiropractor (whose practice did not involve sexual touching) told police she had no idea the first one’s actions were inappropriate. According to police documents:
[She] said she did not know if Brent was doing right or wrong. It made her feel uncomfortable, but he was a doctor and she was supposed to be able to trust him.
It’s no coincidence that this happened in Utah, a strongly conservative state where abstinence-only sex education is widespread and students may learn virtually nothing about sex beyond “don’t do it.” This curriculum, last updated around the turn of the millennium, leaves students unprepared to recognize inappropriate sexual behavior.
Unprepared students grow into unprepared adults, and many will struggle to access the information they were denied in school. Even with access to the internet, the abstinence-only program’s emphasis on concealing information communicates that asking questions, having conversations, even thinking about sexuality is somehow dirty — and that’s a lesson that’s hard to erase, even years after the fact.
It seems that the gaps in the Utah sex education curriculum are so big, they allowed a serial sexual predator to slip through the cracks for years.