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Dentist awaits panel's decision on patients' allegations of misconduct

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

A hearing against Federal Way dentist Jeffrey Burgess wrapped up Monday afternoon, leaving a state Dental Quality Assurance Commission panel deliberating whether he is guilty of professional misconduct.

The hearing and an investigation stem from accusations lodged against him by former patients who claimed he molested them.

Burgess came to the attention of the commission, a division of the state Department of Health, in 2001 after a female patient reported he inappropriately touched her during an exam at his Federal Way office.

Nine more women later came forward and accused him of sexual misconduct between 1996 and 2002.

Burgess was charged with sexual misconduct, failing to meet sterilization standards and allowing an unlicensed person to give a patient an injection.

According to one of the women, he allowed an unlicensed assistant to give her a shot during one of her visits.

Burgess’ license has been restricted since the investigation began, prohibiting him from treating female patients or minors, according to state officials.

The charges brought against Burgess are professional, not criminal, and Burgess isn’t currently under investigation by the Federal Way Police.

Now that closing arguments have concluded, the commission will deliberate over whether Burgess is guilty of the charges and, if so, what disciplinary action should be taken.

Department of Health spokeswoman Deanna Whitman said the commission usually deliberates for a day or two, but there’s no timeline by which they must make a decision.

Once the commission takes action, a judge has 90 days to write the final ruling based on the panel’s decision. The ruling will go into effect once the judge signs and files it.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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