The following is a press release from the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office:
Defendant Darius Bunyad, 41 years old of Petaluma, was sentenced Monday, June 21 by the Honorable Dana Simonds to serve ten years in state prison (the maximum eligible sentence under the law) after being found guilty by a jury in 2017 of committing six counts of felony sexual battery by fraud, and multiple additional misdemeanor offenses.
The charges resulted from crimes that occurred between 2012 and 2015 when Bunyad owned and operated a sports medicine practice in Santa Rosa. During “treatments,” Bunyad improperly touched his victims’ breasts and other parts of their bodies, all while under the guise that it was for the purposes of legitimate chiropractic treatment.
The convictions covered crimes against eight separate female chiropractic patients, five of whom were minors at the time, the youngest being fifteen years old. Some of the victims were also employed by Bunyad in his Santa Rosa Chiropractic office.
Defendant’s jury trial began in February 2017. It lasted twelve trial days and culminated in closing arguments on March 7, 2017. After being present for all trial dates and listening to all of the evidence presented against him, Bunyad failed to return to court on March 8, 2017. The next day, Bunyad was convicted in absentia of committing six felony violations of penal code section 234.4(c), sexual battery by fraud; six misdemeanor violations of penal code section 647.6(a)(1), annoying or molesting a child; and a misdemeanor violation of penal code section 242, simple battery.
Almost two years after the jury’s verdicts, the defendant was arrested in Mexico and extradited to Sonoma County. During the sentencing hearing, District Attorney victim advocate Gina Raith read aloud the written statements of three of the victims. Each described the long-term impact and damage that Bunyad’s crimes had caused them. The father of one victim also read a statement on behalf of his daughter who was a minor at the time of the crimes. He described how his daughter, a 4.0 high school student athlete, had been groomed by Bunyad. He described how initially she was a patient of Bunyad’s, but then became an employee. After the crimes she was diagnosed with PTSD, culminating in depression, anxiety, panic attacks and suicidal ideation. The father also described the fear felt by the family during the time that Bunyad had fled.
Simonds determined that Bunyad was not appropriate for probation and advised him that, “The behavior that you engaged in was devastating to the victims.” She further told him that he, “Had not shown true remorse.”
Bunyad was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jason Riehl. Santa Rosa Police Department handled the investigation.