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Florida Doctor Accused of Sexual Assaulting Patients Found Dead With Gunshot Wound To The Head
Doctor Eric Salata found dead in a ditch with gunshot wound to the head shortly after third women accuses him of rape. Police say death is not suspicious.
A Florida doctor accused of sexually assaulting at least two of his patients after giving them laughing gas, Xanax and tequila has died.
Eric Andrew Salata, 54, was discovered in a ditch near his home in Naples with a gunshot wound to the head and a handgun next to his leg, ABC affiliate WZVN reported. He reportedly left two notes, his wedding ring and credit cards at his home.
Deputies with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office were asked to do a welfare check after no movement was detected Salata’s ankle monitor for eight hours, according to WZVN.
The Collier County Sheriff’s office said his death is not considered suspicious, but authorities are waiting for the autopsy report before ruling it a suicide, according to multiple local media outlets.
Salata was arrested on Nov. 21 after two women — ages 51 and 72 — said they were sexually assaulted while undergoing cosmetic medical treatments at the Pura Vida Medical Spa, according to a press release from the Naples Police Department. He was charged with two counts of sexual battery to a physically helpless person.
Salata and his wife owned the clinic, according to NBC2 News.
Xanax was prescribed for the first victim before she arrived for her procedure, NBC 2 reported. She agreed to take nitrous oxide (laughing gas) after being told the procedure would be painful.
The woman said the doctor then offered her tequila, which she drank, and said the combination of laughing gas, alcohol and sedatives caused her to “blackout.”
“Things such as that (sedation methods) could show intent. It may show the true nature of what was trying to be done there. The focus is not so much being on a medical procedure, or whatever is in the best interest of the client, but more on a personal … personal level unfortunately,” Lt. Bryan McGinn with the Naples Police Department previously told NBC2.
The woman said that when she came to, Salata was performing oral sex on her. She passed out again and when she woke up, he was having sexual intercourse with her, NBC2 reported.
“The victim felt shocked after the sedation subsided about what had taken place, contacted police, and submitted to a sexual assault examination which was sent to the FDLE laboratory for the continuing investigation,” Naples police said in the press release.
The second woman said Salata gave her laughing gas twice, once at the start of the appointment and the second time was when he started to massage her. She accused the doctor of raping her while she was unconscious. During the alleged assault, her lip became bruised after he kissed her, according to NBC2.
“There’s a level of trust that’s expected there, let alone a level of professionalism. You’re at one of your weakest points when you are going in for some sort of procedure. You want help, and you’re looking for help,” McGinn told the station.
Salata was reportedly the only medical professional in the room during both procedures.
A third woman had recently accused the doctor of rape, according to NBC2 and WZVN.
Prosecutors wanted to force Salata to turn in his weapons when he was released on $200,000 bond, but the judge ruled against their risk protection order, the stations reported.
Salata was due back in court on Dec. 19.