State Sens. Joe Vitale (D-Woodbridge) and Bob Singer (R-Hamilton) condemned the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners for reissuing a professional license to a convicted sex offender.
“It is utterly inconceivable that the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners would think it a good idea to reinstate the license of a convicted sex offender who preyed on children. The board’s decision defies common sense and fails to meet the basic standard of public safety,” they said in a joint statement. “Bryan Bajakian is a predator who should not be placed in a position of trust with patients in a healthcare setting and should not be allowed to threaten anyone again.”
Bajakian’s license was suspended in 2010, the same year he was released from Prison after being convicted for luring or enticing underage girls on the internet and for illegally possessing a firearm, but the Board voted to reinstate it this year.
The move drew quick scorn from Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who is seeking to reverse the decision that allowed Bajakian to return to his practice.
“The Attorney General took the right action in ‘staying’ the decision so Mr. Bajakian can’t immediately resume practicing,” the senators said. “But, in the end, he is powerless to deny the license renewal. That responsibility rests with the chiropractic board.”
The Board on Monday declined to vote up or down on the attorney general’s motion, saying they could not vote on the matter without Bajakian being given a chance to respond.
Grewal argued the 2010 order revoking Bajakian’s license did not provide for his eventual relicensure. He also said the board’s decision to renew his license was based on a flawed psychosexual analysis and ignored “egregious conduct” the attorney general said should be disqualifying.
Bajakian told the board he never sought to meet the minors he spoke with online in-person, though he admitted repeatedly doing so during his plea hearing.
Vitale chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, where Singer is the ranking Republican. That position gives them oversight of the chiropractic board, and the senators warned the saga surrounding Bajakian’s return to practice could spur a set of reforms.
“If the 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,” they said. “We will consider restructuring the board to include more public members who have the public’s interests at heart and fewer self-interested members from the chiropractic industry. We would also look for reforms that bring more public transparency and administrative oversight so the board is more accountable for its actions.”
The Division of Consumer Affairs is already launching new regulations that will require professional boards give public notice on license reinstatements.