A seedy dentist has resurfaced in Central America nearly ten years after he was caught injecting his semen into his patients mouths.
Back in 2004, Dr. John Hall was accused by the state dental board of violating dentistry’s standard of care, engaging in immoral conduct, and committing sexual assault or battery at his office in Cornelius, North Carolina.
Dr. Hall’s problems began when six former patients say he tricked them into swallowing his semen. A seventh claims he jumped on top of her in the dental chair and “began to gyrate against her lower body in a sexual manner.”
In 2004, SFGate reported:
She also became suspicious when she overheard him tell patients to “swallow” something, and when she saw him take a syringe out of his lab coat pocket while working beside a patient.
In May 2003, she and former office administrator Susie Hillman took the five syringes from office waste containers and Hall’s lab coat pockets and gave them to police.
Hall’s lawyer, Thompson, suggested the substance Hall asked patients to swallow could have been a dental product.
But in a sworn deposition read aloud Saturday, Hall’s former dental assistant Rhonda Hamilton described several dental products used in Hall’s office and none matched the patients’ descriptions of what was put in their mouths.
When Cornelius police searched Hall’s office Nov. 5, they confiscated five more syringes with Hall’s semen from his desk, according to the board and hearing testimony.
Five of the six patients testified Friday. The first, a 40-year-old woman, said she objected when Hall began to put a substance from a syringe into her mouth during a procedure on Sept. 4, telling him: “That smells like sperm.”
She said Hall drew back and said, “You’re crazy.” She said she couldn’t taste the substance because her mouth was numb.
Another witness, a 33-year-old woman, said Hall asked his assistant to retrieve something from another room during her appointment in May 2003. While the assistant was gone, she said Hall told her to lie back, open her mouth and swallow.
“When I swallowed I tasted it, and it was semen. … He told me it was cleaning solution.” She said she drove directly to her husband’s office nearby and told him what happened, but he and a colleague dismissed the idea. She said she tried to convince herself she was wrong, and contacted police only after hearing about the investigation on the news.
Dr. Hall pleaded guilty to seven misdemeanor counts of sexual assault in 2005. He spent four months in Mecklenburg County jail and had his dentistry license permanently revoked.
“How in the world can he just walk away from this? There’s no justice in this,” said Lisa Carpenter, one of his victims at the time, referring to his light sentence. Jail time notwithstanding, at least Dr. Hall would never practice dentistry again.
Last month, Dr. Hall resurfaced on the island of San Pedro in Belize where he came dangerously close to opening a new clinic before police discovered his past.
On November 18, 2015, Dr. Hall ran an ad in the local Belizean newspaper, The San Pedro Sun, looking for a dental assistant for his new dental practice, The Oceanside Dental Clinic.
Tamara Sniffin, editor of the San Pedro Sun, told VICE the advertisements seemed suspicious to her: “We did wonder how he had obtained a license to practice [dentistry], as traditionally this is a painstaking, lengthy process that discourages many foreigners from even trying.”
As it turns out, though, Dr. Hall did have a license to practice in Belize. He’d received a work permit under his real name, but before he applied for a Belizean dentistry license, he had to get his highly-Googleable semen incident behind him. So instead of using his legal name (John Robert Hall) he came up with a cleverly devised pseudonym, Robert Bob Hall (or if shortened, Bob Bob Hall). Within weeks, the Medical Council of Belize had issued a Belizean dentistry license to Dr. Robert Bob Hall.
It’s not entirely clear how this happened. As Sniffen pointed out, it’s unusual for foreigners to have work permits and licenses processed so easily, and while Dr. Hall’s license was issued under his fake name, his passport and work permit listed his real name. Still, receiving falsely-issued documents from the Belizean government isn’t unheard of: A few years ago, immigration officials in the country—including the Minister of State in the Immigration Ministry—were found to be selling Belizean passports.
As the grand opening of Dr. Hall’s new clinic loomed, Sniffen—the newspaper editor—began receiving emails from concerned residents, linking to news articles about Hall’s 2005 conviction. She told me she forwarded the well-documented evidence of Dr. Hall’s crimes to the Ministry of Health, but received no response. So she took matters into her own hands.
“On the morning of [December] 7, I went to the San Pedro Police Department, armed with a folder full of printed articles and info on the deviant, disgusting behavior of Dr. Hall,” Sniffin told me. “There was no way in hell I was going to let that pervert touch one person on this island and I thank those who brought it to our attention and worked with us on shutting this creep down.”
Upon receiving the information, Assistant Superintendent Henry Jemmott, Commander of the San Pedro Police, arrested Dr. Hall for “making false representation” — just hours before the grand opening of his new dentistry clinic.
“The people of San Pedro are angry at the Belize Medical Council for overlooking the mistake with the name,” Jemmott told me, “but my people are glad that it’s been brought to light.”
“I never thought I would be ridiculed, cussed at, and made fun of with harmful threats to me and my dog based on assumptions instead of facts,” wrote Dr. Hall in a 1,400-word manifesto claiming he came to Belize “to help the local people with free dentistry.” He continued: “When I was accused of a disgusting and absurd action of placing semen in patient’s mouths. I did not do what I was accused of doing!”
Dr. Hall is currently awaiting trial on February 12 in San Pedro and has had his travel documents confiscated by the authorities.