Man posing as medical practitioner pleads guilty after sex crimes arrest

Photo: New River Regional Jail
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7)-- A Radford man has pleaded guilty to practicing a medical profession and performing acts without a proper license. That's based on his arrest last year on charges dealing with sex crimes and indecent liberties with a minor.

in Radford City Circuit Court Friday, 67-year-old Martin Riding pleaded to 16 misdemeanor counts, with all other charges dismissed. He was sentenced to 12 months on each count, running concurrently. He was also fined as much as $3,200 or as little as $200 for each conviction. He also gets credit for time served, is ordered to have no contact with the victims and is barred from health care work and health-related business ventures.

Radford City Police arrested Riding September 13 on charges including felony "animate object sexual penetration", felony "taking indecent liberties with a minor" and misdemeanor Indecent exposure.

The cases ranged from July 2018 through March 2019 and included multiple victims.

Riding had already been arrested June 17 by Radford City Police on 64 direct indictments that included 32 felony counts of Practicing a profession without an appropriate license, and 32 misdemeanor counts of Practicing a profession or performing acts without licensure.

Radford City Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Rehak says only that the profession was "medical related."

In a statement after the plea agreement, Rehak said, “Any case with thirty-five separate victims present a host of unique challenges, but these bizarre facts significantly complicated the Commonwealth’s legal strategies, trial preparations and plea negotiations. Most victims were naive, vulnerable and find themselves understandably embarrassed yet angry. This conviction agreement means those victims avoid court and preserve their privacy. After considering victim input, I decided this compromise was best for all involved. The plea agreement ensured convictions and eliminates the lingering appeals surely to have followed."

Rehak continued, "The object sexual penetration crimes required proving both intimidation and lack of consent beyond a reasonable doubt – just two of the issues which became increasing problematic. Unfortunately, Virginia’s medical profession licensure laws provided their own set of difficulties. Defendant contested the definition of invasive procedures and may have even been exempt under Virginia Code section 54.1-3001 which protects and excludes “[any individual who provides stroking of the hands, feet, or ears or the use of touch, words, and directed movement, including healing touch, therapeutic touch, mind-body centering, orthobionomy, traeger therapy, reflexology, polarity therapy, reiki, qigong, muscle activation techniques, or practices with the primary purpose of affecting energy systems of the human body].”

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