Montebello doctor accused of molesting 8 patients to stand trial

LOS ANGELES — A Montebello doctor accused of molesting eight female patients between 2007 and 2011 will stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Dr. Arturo Vargas, 42, appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court for his preliminary hearing, in which a judge determined sufficient evidence had been presented to order Vargas to stand trial on 23 charges, court officials said.
He is scheduled to return to court Feb. 19 for an arraignment hearing.
Vargas is charged with multiple counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, sexual battery by fraud and sexual exploitation by a physician.
Montebello police began investigating Vargas after a female patient he treated at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices, 1550 Town Center Drive in Montebello, reported being molested by him during an examination in July of 2011. Investigators arrested him
After word of Vargas’ Jan. 2, 2012, arrest became public, seven additional women came forward to report being sexually assaulted by Vargas, according to Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Martha Carrillo.
The alleged crimes took place both at the Montebello medical office, as well as at other Los Angeles County facilities, authorities allege.
Vargas was released hours after his initial arrest in January of 2012 after posting $200,000 bail, officials said.
Following his re-arrest Feb. 6, Vargas was released from jail the following day after posting $925,000 bail.
If convicted as charged, Vargas faces up to 104 years in state prison.

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