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Parents protest local pediatric dentist

Dozens of parents allege abuse by dentist, who says claims are false

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – During a protest Wednesday, bottles flew at the car of a Southside pediatric dentist who is facing parent accusations of malpractice and claims that he abused children behind closed doors during dental procedures.

The mother who started the social media campaign against Dr. Howard S. Schneider said she decided to post to Facebook what happened to her child in December. Within a few hours of her post, dozens of parents flooded the News4Jax newsroom with calls and emails about Schneider, whose pediatric dental practice is on University Boulevard.

Brandi Motley claims her daughter went in to get one tooth fixed but ended up with a mouthful of problems.

"She's been going to the dentist since she was 2, and she's never had any teeth problems, no decaying no cavities, and now all of a sudden her whole mouth is messed up because of him," Motley said.

Her Facebook post sparked outrage and a protest outside Schneider's offices. Around lunchtime Wednesday, when Schneider pulled out of the back parking lot, protesters screamed at him and bottles were thrown at his car.

Motley said she never expected so many parents to have similar stories.

"I want his doors locked. It's my goal," Motley said. "It's not about the money. It's not about anything, I'm my child's voice, and I will speak for her, Mason and the other kids that were hurt and that's all I can do."

Motley said she wasn't allowed into the procedure room while Schneider was working on her daughter in December. She said the nurse came into the waiting room three hours later and told her there had been an accident. Motley said the nurse told her to take her child to the emergency room, but she said the story the nurse told her didn't match with the story her daughter told her.

"(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," Motley said.

Five parents at the protest told News4Jax their kids were severely mistreated -- either strapped down to boards, forced to endure having teeth pulled that didn't need to be pulled or operated on without sedation. Some even said their kids came out of Schneider's office bloody and bruised.

Motley said she can't say whether any of the other parents' stories are true or not but said if they think their kid was abused, they need to get a lawyer, like she did, and press charges.

Schneider told News4Jax his attorney has advised him not to speak to the media, but he said that the allegations of abuse are untrue and that his practice will remain open.

He blames one woman who might have had a bad experience for prompting people to write bad reviews and make accusations. He said every child that has come into his office has had nothing but the best treatment. He said he has been in Jacksonville for nearly 50 years and doesn't deserve the backlash.

News4Jax checked and Schneider's license is clear, and he has no reported actions against his license.

About five people contacted News4Jax reporter Heather Leigh on Wednesday offering support of Schneider. They didn't want to be interviewed but said the dentist is a good person and does good work.

Parent Kellee Davis disagreed. She brought her son to the protest Wednesday to show everyone what she said is the result of Schneider's work.

"He had scratches all across his face. They told me they tried to do the procedure before restraining him, but he was clawing at the dentist. I just chalked it up to, 'He's old, maybe he's getting sloppy with his work,' but how do I know if that's true now with all these allegations?" Davis said. "These two are the fake teeth; the caps they put on. They shaved these front two teeth to put them on. You can see on the two side teeth, they're all yellow and ground down because of the drill. If you look up here at his gumline, you can see the holes and indentions in the gumline where the teeth weren't put up under the gum, they were just stuck there."

She said her son originally went in to have a chipped tooth fixed.

Another parent, Amber Jones, said she brought her son, who has autism, in to get work done, too. She said they left terrified.

"Now when you say the word dentist, when you say the word doctor, he's traumatized," Amber Jones said. "It's one thing with a normal child, but having an autistic child that can't say, 'He hurt me,' or, 'I can't defend myself,' and that's what my son went through because of this man."

As some protesters left Wednesday, others showed up, all with new allegations.

Detectives with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office were also out at the protest, taking down contact information for some of the people. JSO said the detectives were gathering information as part of a process to determine if there will be an investigation into the claims of mistreatment and abuse.