The manager of a cosmetic clinic in Del Mar is facing felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly impersonating a plastic surgeon in order to grope at least one woman.
The District Attorney’s Office announced on Monday, Dec. 16, that nine charges, including sexual battery and falsely indicating the right to practice medicine, have been filed against Dario Moscoso, 67, with Del Mar Cosmetic Contouring Surgery.
He pleaded not guilty last week at his San Diego Superior Court arraignment.
Authorities said that Moscoso posed as a medical professional in order to conducted intimate physical exams for his own “sexual gratification.” The consultations were allegedly for a number of procedures, such as breast augmentation and butt lifts.
Moscoso denies the charges, saying they stem from a single patient visit in 2017. He said he never touched the woman involved.
“It’s all bogus. Nothing happened,” he said. “This woman came into the office two years ago. It’s not a medical consultation. It’s a preliminary consultation, which is how everybody does it.”
Authorities are now searching for other women who believe they were mistreated by Moscoso.
“Based upon the thorough investigation… we believe there are additional victims who have suffered similar experiences,” Steve Walker, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said in an email. “Based upon witness statements and observations of law enforcement, we are seeking information or additional victims to come forward.”
Moscoso faces up to nine years in prison if convicted. After being booked into county jail, he was released on $50,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 23.
The alleged victim, whose identity has not been released to the public, filed a sexual battery lawsuit against Moscoso this summer. The suit alleges that Moscoso told the woman to undress during a November 2017 visit to the clinic. He then touched her breasts with his bare hands for one to two minutes, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit also named as a defendant Dr. Gerald Schneider, who has worked with Moscoso for several years as the licensed surgeon at Del Mar Cosmetic Contouring Surgery.
Schneider had been put on probation by the Medical Board of California in 2013 after being accused of sexual misconduct and gross negligence in a separate incident. As part of his probation, which extends through September 2020, Schneider has been required to have a third-party chaperone while examining or treating female patients. Schneider’s girlfriend and Moscoso had been approved to act in that capacity.
Schneider did not respond to requests for comment.
Anyone with information on similar cases or victims involving Moscoso are asked to call the California Department of Consumer Affairs Investigator Duncan Fraser at (858) 467-6830.
— Joshua Emerson Smith is a reporter for The San Diego Union Tribune