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[whitespace] Local orthodontist arrested for physical battery

Ex-fiancé alleges history of abuse

Cupertino--Sheriff's deputies arrested Roy P. Christian, a resident of Cupertino, at his Sunnyvale orthodontic practice on Sept. 7. Deputies charged Christian with battery on a person with a dating relationship, terrorist threats, and violation of a court order after an alleged incident in which Christian is accused of attacking his ex-fiancé on September 1.

The victim allegedly Christian pushed her into the kitchen wall in his Cupertino home, kicked her while she sat on the floor, punched her after she rose to her feet, threw a glass ashtray at her head, then threatened her life with a knife from the kitchen.

Christian fled the scene, but officers caught up with him at his office in the Wrightman Professional Center in Sunnyvale and placed him under arrest. He will appear in court on October 11, on a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon or by means of force likely to produce great bodily harm. He also stands accused of a count of battery on his ex-fiancé and a count of threats to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury. The judge presiding over the case set Christian's bail at $50,000, and Christian bonded out of jail on Sept. 8.

Christian is currently checked into an alcohol treatment facility. He admitted his alcoholism after his arrest, and the court released him into the custody of Support Systems Homes Inc., in Campbell, on Sept. 16. Workers at the treatment center monitor Christian 24 hours a day for a 30-day period. Afterwards, Christian is allowed to leave the compound to go to work, but must return at the end of the day. As part of his treatment, Christian will undergo 12-step counseling, as well as random urinalysis.

The court also filed a restraining order against Christian on Sept. 15, that forbids him from traveling within 300 yards of his ex-fiancé, contacting her by phone or threatening her family members. The order also requires him to give up two handguns registered in his name and in his possession at the time of the order.

Christian's ex-fiancé, who wished not be identified, stated "[the abuse] started verbally at first," but that she soon began to fear for her life. "I honestly thought he was going to kill me that day [during alleged threats with knife]."

She said she has had to begin therapy to handle emotional damage suffered as a result of the alleged abuse. "Not only do I have scars physically, but mentally I am damaged for life," she asserted.

She said she came forward because she believes that the community deserves to know that a health care professional has been accused of physical abuse: "His patients respect him and they have no idea what he does to women," she says.

Dan Jensen, Christian's attorney, spoke to The Courier on Christian's behalf and said Christian has "pled not guilty, and there're going to be multiple court dates until we can get this resolved."

Jensen said the allegations stem from a dispute over a seven-carat diamond engagement ring that Christian gave to his ex-fiancé after breaking her nose. Jensen said Christian broke off the engagement (his ex-fiancé said it was the other way around) and asked for the ring back. "She has refused to return [the] ring, and we believe that that is what this is all about," Jensen says.

Christian has had prior run-ins with the law involving domestic violence. The court order he allegedly violated comes from a prior arrest on Jan. 3, after Christian backhanded his ex-fiancé and broke her nose. The Sheriff's report for the incident states that "this case shows a serious escalation of violence." Christian originally pled not guilty to the charges, but later changed his plea to no contest.

According to court records, on March 30, he was sentenced to three years probation, 10 hours of community service, and 10 days in jail, that he could serve in a nonconsecutive sequence.

The court also issued a protective order against Christian, that forbade any violent or threatening actions towards his ex-fiancé, on Jan. 10.

However, on Jan. 25, the Reno police department arrested Christian in a hotel for allegedly battering his ex-fiancé once again. According to the police report, Christian struck her on her left thigh with a television remote control, then struck her on the left cheek with a closed fist, according to court records. Christian was never convicted of the charges.

Allegations of violence go back even further: According to court records, San Jose police arrested Christian in Feb. 1993, for assault and battery, death threats and child endangerment. During the incident, Christian's ex-wife and mother-in-law reported that he assaulted them while he was holding their six-month-old daughter. The district attorney dropped the charges for lack of concrete evidence, however.

The recent cases almost always involved alcohol, with Christian "the most severely intoxicated," according to a recent Sheriff's report. The Reno Police Department's report for the incident that occurred on Jan. 25, describes Christian as "grossly intoxicated." The report also states that Christian gave three different stories to explain a bruise on his tricep, and told officers that he had tested positive for tuberculosis but had received no treatment at that point.

Sgt. John Hirokawa, public information officer for the Sheriff's Department, said domestic violence occurs quite often in Cupertino, Sunnyvale and the surrounding areas, despite the region's affluence.

"I see a report [of domestic violence] every day," he said. "I know in Cupertino we have our fair share." Hirokawa states that domestic violence occurs in every socioeconomic group, regardless of education, race, or background.
Kevin Fayle

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Web extra to the October 12-18, 2000 issue of Metro.

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