A former Temecula dentist who molested two girls he was coaching in gymnastics pleaded guilty today to two counts of committing lewd acts on a minor as jury selection was getting under way for his trial.
Dr. David Martinus Reiakvam, 44, could have faced more than 50 years behind bars had he been convicted of the 15 felonies with which he was originally charged.
Reiakvam's plea agreement stipulates a two-year prison term. He remains free on $200,000 bail, with a surrender hearing set for 3 p.m. Friday before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Ronald Taylor. It wasn't clear whether sentencing would go ahead at that time.
Reiakvam admitted committing the two felonies, and in exchange, the District Attorney's Office dropped 11 counts of committing lewd acts on a child under 15 years old, as well as two counts of oral copulation of a child under 18.
According to D.A.'s office spokesman John Hall, defense attorney Tera Harden broached the plea deal this week, after the case had been assigned to Taylor's courtroom for trial, leading to negotiations between the defense and prosecution that culminated in mutually acceptable terms.
"Several things were considered in the decision to accept the plea agreement," Hall said. "By agreeing to this, the victims would not have to testify during a trial and, with the felony conviction and lifetime registration as a sex offender, Mr. Reiakvam will likely no longer be able to practice dentistry.
"Before accepting the plea agreement, we spoke to the victims in this case, and they were both on board with the disposition," he added.
The defendant molested and engaged in sex acts with girls he taught at the Empire Acro Gym on Market Street and a separate facility near Vine Street and Mission Inn Avenue, both in Riverside, according to the prosecution.
The two victims, who are now in their mid-20s, lived with Reiakvam and his then-wife Sherry at their Riverside home, according to Deputy District Attorney Debra Postil, the original prosecutor in the case.
Riverside police Detective Laura Ellefson, who testified at the defendant's October 2011 preliminary hearing, said the first girl alleged Reiakvam had intimate contact with her during bedside chats, when he would come into her room and play the "touching game."
According to Ellefson, Reiakvam's interaction with the girl escalated into oral copulation and frequent fondling between 1998 and 2000, eventually leading to "full-blown" sexual intercourse on a regular basis when the girl was 15 years old.
The other girl was molested from 2000 to 2002 beginning at age 13, when Reiakvam came into her room at night to fondle her, according to testimony.
Postil said one victim maintained a sexual relationship with Reiakvam into adulthood.
The defendant, who began practicing dentistry in 1998, failed to renew his dental license earlier this year. The Dental Board of California had placed restrictions on his practice in January 2011, prohibiting him from accepting patients under 18 years old pending resolution of the criminal charges.