The trial of Valley Center’s Robert Oldham Young, best known for his pH Miracle Living Center, and popular series of books advocating an alkaline diet, resumes Dec. 30, more than a month after opening statements were made.
Young faces charges in Vista Superior Court related to activities at the ranch including two counts of grand theft and seven counts of practicing medicine without a license including allegations he applied intravenous lines to patients. He remains out of prison on $100,000 bond.
Prosecutors in their original 13-page complaint, said Young charged four terminally ill patients at least $50,000 each for treatment. one paid more than $120,000 for treatment. All six terminally ill patients named in the original complaint have died, Darvas said.
Also charged in the complaint were Bennie Stephen Johnson, 63, listed as a medical doctor Young hired to help with patient care and Rocio “Rosie” Placencia, 32, a pH Miracle Center employee who allegedly lied to investigators and hid medical supplies in a shed at her Valley Center home. Court records didn’t list any additional information for those two cases
Young is best known for his book “The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health, ” which was listed at No. 75 on Amazon’s list of top 100 best-selling weight-loss books. The tome, which has sold millions, has been translated into at least 18 languages, according to Young’s defense attorney, Paul Pfingst.
Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas last month during opening arguments said witnesses will testify that Young told patients he could treat their cancer, and that he gave at least six terminally ill cancer patients at his ranch intravenous lines of sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda.
While not a medical doctor, Young holds doctorate degrees in naturopathy and nutrition from the Clayton College of Natural Health, a non-accredited and now-defunct Alabama-based correspondence school. He ran the table from a bachelors degree to a masters to a doctorate in about eight months, Darvas said.
The prosecution presented its case first. Prosecution witnesses so far have included family members of cancer patients who had gone to the center and have since died.
On Dec. 17, before the trial went on holiday hiatus, the jury heard cross examination of a cancer patient who had reached out to Young in 2010, after her diagnosis and while she was divorced, pregnant and facing foreclosure on her home. Young offered her the opportunity to live and work at ranch.
The woman, a witness for the prosecution, acknowledged that she had decided not to follow the advice of medical doctors who told her to see an oncologist.
Pfingst has said that people sought out Young precisely because he was not a doctor, but rather a naturopathic practitioner. He also said his client did not hold his techniques out to be cures.