A Salt Lake dentist, accused of sexually molesting two patients more than a year ago, has settled licensing charges of unprofessional conduct by agreeing to have a third party present while he treats patients, an order said.

Dr. Bret Jon Tucker must comply with the order and stipulation with the state Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing for two years or else face sanctions against his license.But Tucker has already been complying with the order for more than a year. He stipulated to having a third party present during dental treatment shortly after licensing regulators issued a petition against him in January 1990.

The May 8 order said Tucker doesn't admit and that he specifically denies the allegations against him. He told the Deseret News that the stipulation requiring him to do nothing more than he already does indicates the state didn't have a case.

"If they had something, they wouldn't have dropped it like they did," he said.

Tucker said he, his practice and his family have "been through hell" because of publicity of the charges against him.

The division filed its petition in January 1990 accusing Tucker of sexually molesting a patient while she was under the influence of nitrous oxide. Criminal charges were filed shortly after, but they were dropped before a preliminary hearing at the request of the Salt Lake County attorney, citing lack of evidence.

In August, an amended petition was issued by licensing regulators accusing Tucker of also sexually molesting a minor in his office in the summer of 1989.

The state still says the sexual assaults took place, the order said. But Assistant Attorney General David Lund said it was in the interest of the alleged victims to bring the matter to a conclusion.

"The case didn't fall apart," Lund said. "At some point you have to call an end to these things and the division is satisfied" with the stipulation.