Radford man practicing “alternative healing” accused of harming 35 victims enters a plea agreement

Local News

RADFORD, Va. (WFXR) — A Radford man indicted by a grand jury for charges including indecent liberties with a minor in September has entered into a plea agreement.

Martin Riding, 67, of Radford, entered a guilty plea to 16 misdemeanor counts of practicing a profession or performing acts without a proper license, according to Chris Rehak, Radford’s Commonwealth’s Attorney.

He was sentenced to 12 months on each count to run concurrently and fined, according to Radford City Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak. Riding received credit for time served, Rehak added.

WFXR previously reported Radford Police arrested Riding on Sept. 13, 2019, after an earlier arrest in June for practicing medicine without a license.

He is ordered to have no contact with the victims and barred from health care and health-related business ventures, according to a Facebook post from Rehak.

The commonwealth attorney said this case presented itself to be challenging due to the high number of victims.

“Any case with thirty-five separate victims present a host of unique challenges, but these bizarre facts significantly complicated the Commonwealth’s legal strategies, trial preparations and plea negotiations. Most victims were naive, vulnerable and find themselves understandably embarrassed yet angry. This conviction agreement means those victims avoid court and preserve their privacy. After considering victim input, I decided this compromise was best for all involved. The plea agreement ensured convictions and eliminates the lingering appeals surely to have followed.

The object sexual penetration crimes required proving both intimidation and lack of consent beyond a reasonable doubt – just two of the issues which became increasing problematic. Unfortunately, Virginia’s medical profession licensure laws provided their own set of difficulties. Defendant contested the definition of invasive procedures and may have even been exempt under Virginia Code section 54.1-3001 which protects and excludes “[any individual who provides stroking of the hands, feet, or ears or the use of touch, words, and directed movement, including healing touch, therapeutic touch, mind-body centering, orthobionomy, traeger therapy, reflexology, polarity therapy, reiki, qigong, muscle activation techniques, or practices with the primary purpose of affecting energy systems of the human body].”

Chris Rehak, Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney

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