When mother Brandi Motley posted the horrific story of her daughter's abuse in a Jacksonville pediatric dentist's, Howard Schneider's, office on Facebook, she opened the floodgates of phone calls and emails to the local news station, News4Jax, from other parents who claim their children were subject to abuse from this same dentist.
The outcry from parents also instigated a protest outside Dr. Schneider's dental office on University Boulevard, where bottles were flung at his car when he tried to leave the premises via the back parking lot, according to News4Jax. Schneider faces charges of malpractice and claims of child abuse behind closed doors in his practice.
Motley took her daughter to the dentist to have one simple tooth extracted. She says she has taken her daughter to the dentist since she was 2, and her daughter has never had any dental problems -- not even one cavity. That all changed during Motley's daughter's visit with Dr. Schneider in December of 2014.
Remembering that day vividly, Motley told CNN that when they arrived for the appointment the nurse said it would be best if Motley stayed in the waiting room, stating that children behave better when their parents aren't in the room.
"We don't like parents back here for the procedures," the nurse told Motley.
Motley sat in the waiting room for what should have only been a few minutes, but had turned into three long, grueling hours. Suddenly, the nurse came into the waiting room, exclaiming that there had been an accident and that Motley needed to take her 6-year-old daughter, Briel, who suffers from epilepsy, to the emergency room immediately.
Action News reports Motley stated that the nurse's explanation of what had happened was completely different than that of Briel's.
"The nurse lady comes and gets me and she said there had been an incident. I walk back through the doors and turn to the right and there she is, sitting with blood all over her. Her face was all swollen and the lady said they had her on the papoose board and they stepped out for a second to get something, and they came back in and she was face-first on the floor."However, Briel later told her mommy something completely different.
"My daughter said the man doctor threw her and the lady doctor picked her back up and they were laughing and sat on her while the lady was slapping her on the face while he was choking her, and that's when they pulled her teeth."As Motley frantically drove Briel to the nearest emergency room, she had Briel remove the gauze that filled her mouth. Motley was shocked to find most of Briel's teeth were missing. Briel was only to have one tooth pulled, yet 72-year-old Dr. Schneider pulled seven.
Motley contacted the police twice. However, records reveal, according to CNN, that no report was written on this incident. Motley began seeking out the help from a lawyer, and initially, no one would take her case.
"That's when I decided to put her picture on Facebook and tell everyone what happened," Motley explains. It wasn't long before the story went viral. At that point, other parents began speaking out about their experiences with Dr. Schneider, who had previously been silent.
One such parent is Amanda Barry, who took her young 5-year-old son, Dominic, who was referred to Dr. Schneider for a crown in March. CNN reports that there is now a pending civil suit against Dr. Schneider for assault and battery against Dominic. Dr. Schneider pulled his two front teeth for no apparent reason. Dominic also says Dr. Schneider tried to choke him.
Numerous other outrageous stories of abuse from the hands of Dr. Schneider have since emerged. However, Schneider denies them all and blames Motley as being one mom who is angry at the treatment her daughter received. Action News obtained a statement from Schneider explaining his thoughts on the protests and accusations.
"I am very pissed off. That's the only word I can use. I'm a good dentist. I do nothing wrong. I give these kids the best treatment. Somebody started a deal and they're preying on it. And I'm tired of it."Schneider claims his innocence in spite of the fact that the state Attorney General's Office has an active criminal investigation against him.
"I haven't done anything. I don't know about a criminal thing," Schneider informed Action News.
Although, interestingly enough, public court records reveal that Schneider was a defendant in two different malpractice suits in 1995. The details of those cases cannot be revealed. In fact, the Florida Department of Children and Families firmly states that no information can be released unless a child dies.
However, Action News did obtain a statement from John Harrell, the Department of Children and Families Northeast Region Communications Director.
"The Florida Department of Children and Families does have the legal authority to investigate abuse and neglect of children by parents, caregivers such as relatives, and teachers or school personnel. The law does not give DCF the authority to investigate allegations involving doctors or dentists. We would encourage parents to contact law enforcement or the appropriate regulatory agencies if they have concerns regarding their children in these settings."[Photo Credit: CNN.com]