State board decides against the emergency suspension of the license of Dr. James Pucka

Dr. James Pucka is accused of sexually harassing his patients while under his care at The Spine Worx in Lafayette.

Posted: Jun 10, 2021 4:28 PM
Updated: Jun 10, 2021 6:21 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A Lafayette chiropractor accused of sexual harassment by his patients will not have his license suspended, for now.
The Indiana State Board of Chiropractic Examiners made the decision during an emergency hearing Thursday.

Dr. James Pucka is accused of sexually harassing his patients while under his care at The Spine Worx.

As we've previously reported, one victim told us she was shown a picture of a woman in bondage as an example of treatment.

During the virtual hearing, Pucka admitted to using the picture as a way to demonstrate a medical procedure.

He said he likes to keep the atmosphere light so that patients are relaxed.

Multiple alleged victims, patients who support Pucka and former and current employees also testified Thursday.

Pucka said he has taken classes on sexual harassment and discrimination since the initial complaint was posted on Facebook and said he is now never alone with patients.

However, Indiana Deputy Attorney General of Medical Licensing April Keaton says the alleged victim's treatment was damaging.

"Embarrassed, angry, disgusted, violated, vulnerable, uncomfortable, shaking," said Keaton. "These are many of the terms that our witnesses have used to describe their experiences after being treated with Dr. Pucka."

Pucka also admitted to telling patients to take their clothes off and referring to patients' breasts as "hooters", but he said it was just a joke.

"For 30 years I've used the same banter and the same everything and then all of a sudden a couple of months ago, I don't know why, something shifted," Pucka said.

However, Keaton said Pucka's testimony focused more on what the patients *didn't do and asked for his license to be suspended for 90 days.

"From the testimony that we have heard today, numerous individuals have come forward to say that their treatment at the hand of Dr. Pucka was not to their benefit and was often harmful and damaging," Keaton said.

Pucka also claimed that he didn't continue to joke with patients if they said it made them uncomfortable.

"There are individuals that don't like the humor and so we don't use the humor, but how am I supposed to know if they don't tell me," Pucka said.

The board said it made the decision because Pucka was not an immediate danger to the public.

However, they did encourage the attorney general's office to continue their investigation because "something needs to be remedied".

Pucka will now go before the board during its regular meeting on July 8th.

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