SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former dental assistant pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually assaulting 13 female patients while they were under anesthesia in the dental surgical office where he worked.
Luis Ramos, 36, faces up to 15 years in state prison when he is sentenced Aug. 26 by Judge Michael Smyth.
Ramos' guilty plea came on the day of his scheduled preliminary hearing, saving the victims -- who ranged in age from 17 to 63 -- from having to testify in court. He pleaded guilty to 13 charges, including sexual battery of a medically incapacitated person and sexual penetration.
"They're relieved to have this over,'' said Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle. "A lot of them were scared and frightened to testify, and they're pleased that Mr. Ramos won't be out there doing that to someone else.''
Ramos had faced a maximum of 17 years behind bars if convicted of 30 counts.
"Mr. Ramos didn't get much of a deal out of our office,'' the prosecutor said. ``He wasn't the kind of defendant that we would bend over backwards to give a deal.''
Doyle said Ramos would sexually assault the victims when they were coming out of anesthesia after dental procedures such as a wisdom teeth extraction. The assaults happened between January 2015 and January of this year.
Most of the victims were seen on hundreds of hours of surveillance video from Park Boulevard Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Ramos was initially charged with touching the breasts of a 17-year-old girl and putting his face in her chest, then other women came forward, saying similar things happened to them, according to Doyle.
Ramos had worked for the surgical office for three years, Doyle said.