Preliminary hearing set for Oceanside physician accused of sexually assaulting women

VISTA — An Oceanside physician accused of sexually assaulting and exploiting six female patients from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is scheduled to appear at the Vista courthouse today for a preliminary hearing.

Dr. Edgar Manzanera, 38, who was contracted by the VA to review pension disability claims, was arrested in June on a warrant charging him with four counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object and one count of sexual exploitation by a physician. He is out of custody on $150,000 bail.

A judge ordered the defendant not to practice medicine or provide any patient care as a condition of his bail.

Manzanera’s 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 military 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.

After a preliminary hearing on the criminal charges, a judge will determine whether enough evidence was presented to order Manzanera to stand trial.

Manzanera faces 14 years and eight months in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens.

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