Area dentist arrested on sexual abuse charges
A local dentist is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl over the course of several months while living in the same house last year, and was arrested by the Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office on March 31, according to a news release.
Justin Hillock, 36, of Stuart, who owns and operates Guthrie Center Family Dentistry and Coon Rapids Family Dentistry, faces four criminal charges: two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, and two counts of indecent contact with a child. Two of the charges are felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Hillock is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl multiple times between September 2015 and February 2016 at his rural Stuart house. According to court documents, he is accused of lying on top of the girl and touching her inappropriately. He also allegedly slapped and grabbed the girl’s buttocks, made sexual comments about her body and tried to view her naked while she showered or changed clothes. The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office launched a criminal investigation into the allegations about a month ago after receiving a tip from the Iowa Department of Human Services. The case is now being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.
“We initially investigated the allegations against (Hillock), accusations, then it was taken over by the Attorney General’s Office,” Guthrie County Sheriff Marty Arganbright said. “We’re probably pretty much done with it. I don’t know what will happen from here on out. The biggest thing is he is innocent until proven guilty.”
Hillock was arrested and brought in to the Guthrie County jail on Friday, March 31, and posted a $20,000 bond that day to be released. The arraignment for the felony charges of sexual abuse, and those for indecent contact with a child — an aggravated misdemeanor — is scheduled for April 17 at 9 a.m.
Hillock was unable to be reached for comment.
In the past, Hillock has also faced accusations of sexual misconduct from former patients and employees. According to Iowa Dental Board documents, complaints were filed with the board in 2009 claiming Hillock violated state law by making “improper sexual contact with a patient and for making suggestive, lewd, lascivious or improper remarks or advances to patients and coworkers.” The complaints also alleged he acted with “gross immorality or dishonorable or unprofessional conduct in the practice of dentistry.”
While Hillock filed an answer denying all charges against him, the board later required him to complete psychological, psychiatric and professional sexual misconduct evaluations and pay a $5,000 fine. Further, the board ordered Hillock to have a female employee with him whenever he treated a female patient, and had staff members send monthly reports to the board about Hillock’s conduct.
“The board would only file charges in cases that were very serious in nature, and where there was evidence to corroborate the complaint,” said Jill Stuecker, executive director of the Iowa Dental Board. “Any kind of allegation or complaint of that (sexual) nature would be taken very seriously by the board.”
In 2010, Hillock’s former office manager in Guthrie Center left her job due to his “deliberately making her working conditions so intolerable that she was forced into an involuntary resignation,” according to a lawsuit she filed. The woman accused him of making sexual comments, propositioning her for sex and retaliating against her for cooperating with an investigation into his conduct.
The lawsuit was ultimately settled.