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News / Clark County News

Former Battle Ground chiropractor sentenced to 32 months in prison

Mark S. LaRue pleaded guilty to 3rd-degree rape, indecent liberties

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: February 8, 2023, 5:41pm

A former Battle Ground chiropractor was sentenced Wednesday to two years and eight months in prison for inappropriately touching female patients.

Mark S. LaRue, 70, pleaded guilty last month in Clark County Superior Court to third-degree rape and indecent liberties without forcible compulsion, under the health care provider prong. The rape charge listed one woman, and the indecent liberties charge listed seven women who were assaulted between 2014 and 2017.

Two victims told Judge Robert Lewis that LaRue’s treatment of them made them distrustful of medical providers, in general. One said that when she sought a new chiropractor, she made sure to ask for a woman to treat her.

LaRue apologized Wednesday to his former patients and their families. He said he was ashamed of his unprofessional behavior.

As part of his plea deal, he agreed to an exceptionally high sentencing range of two to three years in prison.

In handing down his sentence, Lewis acknowledged LaRue’s age and the unlikelihood he’d reoffend; LaRue can no longer practice as a chiropractor. Lewis ordered the 32-month sentence, in part, because of the number of victims in the case.

“You admitted that you victimized eight people, some of them on more than one occasion,” Lewis said. “And even if you’ve never done that to anyone else … eight people is a lot. I cannot simply pretend that it’s the same as an isolated event that occurred on one occasion, with one or two people.”

With his conviction, LaRue will have to register as a sex offender. He’s reportedly been receiving sex offender treatment.

LaRue was the owner of Battle Ground Family Chiropractic, 713 W. Main St., Suite 201. He was arrested in June 2017 for inappropriately touching a 22-year-old woman and her 47-year-old mother during massage appointments in April and May of that year.

In late July 2017, the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed additional charges to include six other victims. More than a dozen women contacted law enforcement after news of LaRue’s arrest. But nearly half of the new reports fell outside the statute of limitations to press charges, according to the prosecutor’s office.

State officials suspended LaRue’s practitioner’s license in August 2017. He was first issued a Washington chiropractic license in December 1997, and he was issued an Oregon license in July 2002.

LaRue has a history of complaints investigated by both the Battle Ground Police Department and state health officials.

He told police that in 2003, he was investigated by the Battle Ground Police Department for allegedly inappropriately touching a female patient. Investigators contacted the Department of Health and learned there were actually three complaints filed against LaRue with similar allegations. But police said there was insufficient evidence at that time to charge him.