Santa Rosa chiropractor who molested clients remains at large

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A Santa Rosa chiropractor remains at large more than a month after a Sonoma County jury found him guilty of molesting a series of mostly young women clients under the guise of therapeutic treatment.

Darius Bunyad, 36, sat through the two-week trial in which a parade of women testified about being asked to disrobe in front of him and having their bodies groped.

But Bunyad failed to appear in court the day before the jury completed deliberations and was not present when it returned guilty verdicts March 9. He faced a maximum of eight years in prison.

Santa Rosa police have been looking for him since.

Information provided to investigators suggests he was last seen March 8 in the Walnut Creek area with an unknown woman, Sgt. Terry Anderson said.

Bunyad is alleged to have made statements that he would not allow himself to be arrested and is likely receiving assistance from friends to remain hidden from police, Anderson said.

He does not have a registered firearm, Anderson said.

“If anyone sees Bunyad, they should not attempt to detain him, but should instead call their local law enforcement agency,” he said.

Police this week released four photographs of Bunyad taken from 2010 to the present. He is described as about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 180 pounds with brown eyes and black hair, but has been known to shave his head.

Although born in Afghanistan, he has been living in the United States for many years. He changed his first name from Daryoush to Darius and was a licensed chiropractor from 2009 to 2016.

His lawyer, Richard Scott, did not know if Bunyad had dual citizenship but said he believed he was allowed to keep his U.S. passport throughout the trial. “That could always be a factor,” Scott said.

However, he said he has not heard from Bunyad since the day before the verdict and initially believed he could have taken his own life. Bunyad left behind a 4-year-old son and his black Mercedes Benz sedan at his parents’ Petaluma home.

“Frankly, I’m concerned for his welfare,” Scott said.

Prosecutors said Bunyad preyed mostly on young, athletic women and teenage girls, grabbing their breasts, buttocks and pubic areas under the guise of providing “whole body” medical treatment.

Many testified at trial that he instructed them to remove their shirts and bras before standing behind them, reaching around to their breasts and adjusting their backs.

Others, including patients who worked part time in his office, questioned his technique but didn’t complain because they trusted him.

Bunyad was arrested in 2015 after police investigated a report from a Cardinal Newman High School counselor who heard a description of the procedure from a student. He did not testify in his own defense.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 707-568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.

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