A Springfield chiropractor will face trial in Delaware County Court on charges of assaulting seven women who came to him for treatment.
Ardel Cirio, 61, is charged with seven counts of indecent assault and one count of aggravated indecent assault. Prosecutors say he throbbed and stroked women in his office in Newtown Square at various points over the past two years.
In a nearly four-hour court hearing Wednesday, the seven women described chiropractic sessions with Cirio that left them paralyzed by fear as she palpated her breasts and, in one case, digitally penetrated a woman’s vagina.
»READ MORE: Delaware County Chiropractor Accused of Sexually Assaulting 5 Patients
One victim said she felt “frozen on the table” during an alleged assault. She did not report it immediately, she said, because she had been a patient of hers for three years and trusted him.
“I didn’t want to believe what I was feeling,” the woman said. “I knew something wasn’t working and I didn’t want it to be true, because I considered him and his wife to be my friends.”
Other longtime patients said Cirio had always made chiropractic adjustments to her clothes, but suddenly began to get under her clothes or asked them to remove her completely in sessions that quickly became unsettling while the he palpated, kissed or licked their breasts.
In March, two victims reported assaults on Newtown Township police and Cirio was arrested. After the charges against him were made public, five other women filed similar reports of assault last month.
On Wednesday in court, Cirio’s attorney, Arthur Donato, asked magistrate district judge Leon Hunter to dismiss the case, saying Cirio’s behavior was not sexual and was part of the normal course of chiropractic treatment.
Donato said there was “no evidence that he attempted to have sex with these women or anything of a sexual nature.”
Assistant district attorney Kristin Kemp disagreed that Cirio’s actions were invasive and almost unusual for a chiropractor.
“We’re not talking about someone going to a gynecologist or a breast exam,” Kemp said. “A chiropractor does not have implicit consent to touch these victims the way he wants.”