WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A judge on Wednesday lowered the bond for a Wilmington oral surgeon accused of sexually assaulting nearly two dozen of his patients while they were under anesthesia during surgery.
Michael Lee Hasson, 55, was charged Tuesday morning with a six counts of second-degree sexual offense and six counts of sexual battery. He was given an additional sexual battery charge around 7:30 Wednesday night. Investigators believe more charges could be forthcoming.
In total, Hasson faces 30 criminal charges, including three counts of felony indecent liberties with a child, 17 counts of misdemeanor sexual battery, one count of felony statutory rape, and nine counts of felony second-degree forcible sex offense.
There have been a total of 23 alleged victims so far with the youngest believed to be 12 years old and the oldest 69. The alleged victims are from New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Onslow counties.
On Wednesday, Judge Lindsey McKee ruled that Hasson’s bond be lowered to $500,000. Hasson had been held in the New Hanover County Jail under a $1.1 million bond.
Buddy Allard, Hasson’s attorney, argued for the bond reduction, saying his client is “anchored in this community. His friends and family and his financial support is here.” Allard went on to say there is no additional flight risk for Hasson with Tuesday’s additional charges.
Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan said the number of victims and seriousness of the charges should have kept the bond at $1.1 million.
Stipulations of the bond reduction include Hasson surrendering his passport, having no contact with alleged victims and being subject to electronic monitoring if he is released from jail. If he does go under house arrest, Hasson can only leave the home for attorney or medical visits.
Hasson, of Wilmington Oral Surgery, was arrested Jan. 31, 2019, after he was accused of sexually abusing several of his patients while under anesthesia between 2009 and 2018.
Days after Hasson’s arrest, his license was suspended by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners. The board’s order stated that Hasson was to immediately cease practicing dentistry and will surrender his license, current renewal certificate and general anesthesia permit.
The state board released documents last week that show a police report had been issued to the Wilmington Police Department in October 2017, accusing Hasson of sexual assault during a surgery.
The board will hold a hearing in April regarding the summary suspension of Hasson’s license.