Trenton – Acting in response to the “irresponsible and illogical” action by the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners in renewing the professional license of a convicted child sex offender, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said they are taking action to eliminate and replace the current board with one that makes public safety a priority.
The top Senate leaders will introduce legislation that removes the current board members dominated by chiropractors and reconstitutes the board to include more public representation. The proposed legislation would also specifically ban anyone convicted of a felony sexual offense from being licensed to work as a chiropractor.
“This board has clearly lost sight of its responsibility to protect the health and safety of the people of New Jersey,” said Senator Sweeney. “Giving a convicted sex offender the sanctioned permission to return to the practice is irresponsible and illogical. Bryan Bajakian is a predator who should be denied the opportunity to threaten anyone again.”
“The idea that the state board representing practicing chiropractors could vote unanimously to reinstate the license of a convicted sex offender is a horrific and dangerous move that defies all logic, and is a slap in the face to people everywhere who have faced the trauma of sexual misconduct,” said Senator Weinberg. “By reinstating the chiropractic license of Bryan Bajakian, the board has placed others, including the most vulnerable, in harm’s way.”
Bajakian, a registered sex offender in Florida who is on lifetime parole, has been convicted of luring and firearms charges, ordered not to see patients younger than 18 without supervision, and accused of being “engaged in sexual misconduct toward an underage patient.” The Board of Chiropractors found he tried to meet children on the internet for sex, kept child pornography and continued to see patients younger than 18 unsupervised.
On Thursday, the board reinstated his chiropractor license after rejecting a motion by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to deny the request.
“If the board can’t be trusted to make responsible licensing decisions that protect the safety of New Jerseyans, the Legislature will make wholesale reforms to the board itself,” said Senator Sweeney. “We need to restructure 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 have to bring more transparency and accountability to restore public trust.”
Currently, the chiropractic board includes eight licensed chiropractors who have been practicing for at least five years, but only two public members and one state official.
“There is no way a sexual predator should also be a licensed chiropractor in New Jersey. If the board is going to reinstate this license, what, one might fairly ask will it take for a chiropractic license to be revoked?” said Senator Weinberg. “Attorney General Grewal had it right the first time – there is no way a sexual predator should also be a licensed chiropractor in New Jersey.”