Licensing boards are supposed to be gatekeepers for their respective professions. Not only are they supposed to screen for the quality of their practitioners, but in many states they are supposed to uphold “good moral character” (a requirement that first began as a way to keep communists out of licensed professions). While this stipulation, which many states are doing away with, is highly problematic in practice, it could have some value if it kept dangerous people from becoming licensed.
But the Utah Occupational and Professional Licensing Division has decided to keep dentist David Blanco’s license in effect, even after he has been charged with rape (among other felonies) and was previously sanctioned for lying about his criminal history numerous times on his licensing application:
Prosecutors charged David Patricio Blanco, 46, on April 10 with rape, a first degree felony, object rape, a first degree felony, and forcible sexual abuse, a third degree felony, according to court records….
Blanco’s license to practice dentistry remained active Thursday — eight days after criminal charges were filed. KUTV asked the state Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) if the criminal charges could impact Blanco’s license.
“The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing can neither confirm nor deny that further measures are being sought against the license of David Patricio Blanco at this time,” DOPL spokesperson Jennifer Bolton wrote in a statement.
In addition to the Division’s inaction on these current allegations (in fairness, the wheels of justice move slowly), here is the other misconduct for which he has previously been disciplined, but not lost his license:
- In 2008, Blanco was charged with domestic violence in the presence of a child and unlawful detention;
- In 2011, Blanco was charged with domestic violence in the presence of a child, criminal mischief, and witness tampering;
- In 2017, he did not provide a patient with an unseated crown that Blanco had fabricated, despite the fact that the patient had already paid.
For the first two, Blanco lied on his application and “answered ‘NO’ to questions asking whether [he] had been charged with or pleaded guilty to any misdemeanor or felony since the last renewal of his licensure.”
His sanction? A $5,000 fine, half of which was stayed, and a mandatory continuing education ethics course.
The inability (or, more likely, unwillingness) of licensing boards to discipline their members is well documented. One study found that 70% of physicians with complaints related to sexual misconduct were not disciplined by medical boards. The desire to protect members from competition extends to protecting them from other forms of scrutiny, not unlike the dynamic we see with many public sector unions.