VISTA, Calif. (CNS) - An Oceanside physician pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually assaulting and exploiting five female patients referred by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
On the day his trial was scheduled to begin, Dr. Edgar Manzanera entered into a plea deal in which he will be sentenced on Nov. 20 to three years probation. He will also have to register as a sex offender and surrender his medical license.
If Manzanera were to violate any terms of his probation, he will be given a prison term.
Additionally, Manzanera agreed to not attempt to have his medical license reinstated in California. As for other states, each individual state will have to decide on the matter.
Manzanera, who was contracted by the VA to review pension disability claims, admitted one count of sexual exploitation by a physician. Four counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object were dismissed as part of the plea.
Had he gone to trial and been convicted as charged, Manzanera would have faced nearly 15 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
Manzanera's June 2018 arrest came two days before one of his former patients filed lawsuits in state and federal court against him, the VA and his former employer, QTC Medical Services.
Lawsuits filed in Vista and Arizona assert that Manzanera committed sexual battery against the plaintiff and falsely imprisoned her inside a clinic in Oceanside in 2016 while he was alone with her in his examination room.
Although there was no medical reason for her to get naked, the veteran said Manzanera had her take off her clothes and lift a medical gown over her head until she couldn't see what he was doing, according to the lawsuit.
A total of five people came forward with claims that they were violated and inappropriately touched during exams by Manzanera. The victims were notified of his plea agreement, 10News learned.
The doctor, who posted $150,000 bail following his arrest last year, remains out of custody pending sentencing.
Manzanera holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Guatemala, and while he will be allowed to travel to Guatemala, he will have to inform probation officials prior to any trip.
Manzanera is scheduled to be sentence don Nov. 20, and 10News learned some of his victims are expected to make statements in court that day.
A judge previously ordered the defendant not to practice medicine or provide any patient care as a condition of his bail.
Deputy District Attorney Claudia Plascencia said, “The victims allowed the defendant access to the most intimate parts of their body, and he in turn, under the guise of medical evaluation, preformed unnecessary gynecology evaluations and inappropriate touching of these victims. The victims wanted justice and today they received justice.”
10News reporter Mimi Elkalla contributed to this report