Dental Assistant Convicted of Sexually Abusing Sedated Teen
‘This is every patient’s worst nightmare,’ prosecutors say
Mervin Alexander Rivas-Chang
Via Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office
A county dental assistant accused of assaulting a 17-year-old patient after dental surgery was convicted of three sexual offenses in a four-day jury trial that wrapped up last week in county Circuit Court.
Mervin Alexander Rivas-Chang, 20, of Germantown, was found guilty of sex abuse of a minor, second-degree sex offense and third-degree sex offense following five hours of jury deliberations.
Rivas-Chang faces prison terms of between 10 and 25 years for the crimes.
“This is every patient’s worst nightmare, to be half-awake under sedation and realize you are being sexually molested by the surgical assistant,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office spokesman Ramon Korionoff said in a statement.
Attorneys for Rivas-Chang did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The teen was having four wisdom teeth removed at Maryland Oral Surgery Associates in Silver Spring on Sept. 1, 2017, when the assault occurred, according to charging documents. She was prepared for surgery by a female employee and went to sleep during the procedure.
When the victim awoke, she heard someone in the room and felt a blanket being placed over her. She described herself as “too dizzy to move her head or open her eyes” when a male employee began touching her thigh, according to charging documents.
The man soon began groping her, according to charging documents. The victim said she was “weak and could not push” during the incident. DNA evidence from Rivas-Chang was found in the genital area of the girl.
The girl was eventually able to make out a blue surgical scrubs uniform and the shape of the man, later identified as Rivas-Chang, according to court documents. While he was still in the room after the assault, she managed to see his face. Staff members confirmed Rivas-Chang was assisting in the room when the teen came in for surgery.
Rivas-Chang was arrested in August 2018. He faced eight sexual abuse-related counts when the case arrived in Circuit Court, but three were dropped by state prosecutors and the jury found him not guilty of two other third-degree sex offense charges.
Rivas-Chang is scheduled to be sentenced in June.
“We look forward to a sentence that reflects the seriousness of this crime,” Korionoff said.
Charlie Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org