LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — We have been monitoring a controversy that has erupted on the Facebook page of a local chiropractic office.
Our investigation originally showed that this local chiropractor, Dr. James Pucka, was getting great reviews based on a general google search.
Yet, on his office’s public Facebook page, we noted that Dr. Pucka was the subject of complaints about alleged inappropriate comments he allegedly made to female patients in numerous posts by individuals claiming to be his client.
Several of his former patients say they’ve filed complaints accusing him of sexual harassment while under his care.
As we reported Monday, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office has filed a complaint with the Indiana State Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
News 18 sat down with two of his former patients.
We do warn that these allegations are fairly graphic and may be offensive and disturbing for viewers to hear.
“I noticed everybody else was out in the open,” Rachel Prine, a former patient of Dr. Pucka. “He has kind of an open concept. Well, he ended up taking me to a back room after I got some x-rays done and that’s where he began to make inappropriate comment after inappropriate comment.”
Prine said she went to The Spine Worx in Lafayette on March 10th hoping to get some help for a sore neck, but the 32-year-old said her experience with Dr. James Pucka left her never wanting to go back.
“He asked what happened to my neck, and I said I wasn’t sure, but I figured I slept on it wrong or I’ve just pulled a muscle or something,” Prine said, “He asked, ‘Are you sure there’s not a group of guys who’d say differently?'”
She said the inappropriate comments didn’t stop there.
“He made at least five or six different comments about how I should take my clothes off,” she said.
Prine said the alleged harassment continued after he took an x-ray.
“He was like, ‘Okay, right underneath your boobs right here,” and he called them ‘boobs’,” Prine said. “He said, ‘Which are very nice, I might add’.”
She then said Pucka allegedly took it a step further.
“He pointed to the top and he was touching the screen where my nipples should be,” Prine explained. “He was like, ‘Can you feel that?'”
Prine said in order to show her the treatment for her neck problem, he allegedly pulled up a picture of a woman in bondage.
“He said, ‘The problem is that it has to be for a full 12 minutes or your neck won’t correct itself,” Prine said. “He said, ‘So, if your boy toy can’t handle that, you can come back in and see me and I can last 12 minutes.”
She said Pucka started talking about her husband’s involvement in her treatment.
“He made a comment about me needing to get on my knees for my ‘boy toy’, my husband, more often and I wouldn’t have that problem if I would just let him pull my hair,” Prine added.
After leaving, Prine was so offended that she posted her experience on her personal Facebook page.
“As soon as I made the post, I mean within five minutes, I had women message me saying they had very similar experiences,” Prine explained.
Thirty-three-year-old Leslie Glossic was one of them.
“He took me into a private room and said that it was because he didn’t want everybody staring at my ‘t**s’,” said Glossic.
She said her experience was similar to Prine’s.
“As soon as we got into the room, he said that I could take off all of my clothes,” explained Glossic. “I said, ‘No’.”
Glossic said even though she said she told Pucka she said didn’t find his comments entertaining, he continued.
“He continued to make sexual references, sexual innuendos, talking about his own sex life, things with his wife, referring to his penis and things like that,” Glossic added.
Glossic said Pucka’s jokes didn’t make her feel like she was in a doctor’s office.
“It made me really uncomfortable. In any other scenario, I would have thought this man is trying to sleep with me.”
Despite multiple positive reviews on The Spine Worx Facebook page, there are numerous negative posts and multiple women have reached out to News 18 with similar stories.
Prine and Glossic have filed complaints with Lafayette Police and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. The Tippecanoe County Prosecutor says its investigation is closed and there are no criminal charges being filed against Dr. Pucka.
However, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office has requested an emergency hearing. It’s regarding a possible 90-day suspension of Pucka’s license before his case is heard by the Indiana Board of Chiropractic Examiners on July 8.
Former employee April Robertson allegedly saw the harassment while working for Dr. Pucka.
“I feel like as an employee, I should validate these women and their stories,” Robertson said. “It’s true. It happens. It’s not okay. There are tons of women. They’re just too scared.”
Glossic and Prine said the experience was emotionally traumatic.
“What he has done, to as many women as he has done this to, is damaging, and I still haven’t gotten care for my own problem because I just don’t feel comfortable,” said Glossic.
“He is a medical doctor. I went to him to have something corrected, not to be consistently sexually harassed,” said Prine.
News 18 has made multiple attempts to reach Dr. James Pucka, and he attempted to call us back once.
However, he has not responded to multiple calls afterward, including a visit to his office where News 18’s Samantha Thieke was told he was with patients.
Coming up Wednesday on News 18 at 5 and 6 p.m., we’ll hear from a former employee, April Robertson, and her husband who allegedly witnessed Dr. Pucka behaving inappropriately.