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State Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Woodbridge).

Chiropractic board earns bipartisan condemnation for reinstating sex offender’s license

Lawmakers threaten reforms after board shoots down Grewal motion to reconsider Bryan Bajakian’s reinstatement

By Nikita Biryukov, February 25 2021 6:28 pm

The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee’s top two members damned the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners after the body shot down Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s motion to reconsider a license reinstatement for a convicted sex offender.

“This is a decision that defies common sense and ignores the safety of the public the board is responsible for protecting,” Sens. Joe Vitale (D-Woodbridge) and Bob Singer (R-Lakewood) said in a joint statement. “Anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to reinstate the license of a convicted sex offender who preyed on children can’t be trusted to exercise their oversight responsibilities, or to even to heed their own mission statement directing the board to ‘protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of New Jersey.’”

The board on Thursday shot down a motion to seeking to reverse its decision to allow Bryan Bajakian to regain his license.

Bajakian’s license was suspended in 2010, the same year he was released from prison after being convicted for luring or enticing underage girls and illegally possessing a firearm.

“Bryan Bajakian is a predator who should not be placed in a position of trust with patients in healthcare settings that make them vulnerable, especially children,” the senators said. “Denying him a license should be automatic, as it is in other states.”

Grewal in November filed a motion seeking to block the reinstatement after the board unanimously voted to allow him to return to his practice. The move was an about face. The board had rejected a similar request from Bajakian, a Paramus resident, in 2018.

“The Attorney General took the right action in trying to prevent the board from allowing Bajakian to resume practicing but, even he, the top law enforcement official in the state, was left powerless to deny the license renewal,” said Vitale, the committee chairman, and Singer, its ranking member.

Grewal’s filing charged the board based its decision to reissue Bajakian a license on a faulty psychosexual evaluation, further claiming it ignored “egregious conduct” that ought to have been disqualifying.

The chiropractor told the board, falsely, he never sought to meet in-person the minors he spoke with online, but he admitted to repeatedly doing exactly that during his plea hearing.

The board’s striking down Grewal’s motion puts its future into a state of uncertainty.

“Poor decisions have consequences,” the senators said. “If this board can’t be trusted to make responsible licensing decisions that protect the safety of New Jerseyans, the Legislature will have to look at reforms to the board itself.”

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