Dr. Stanley Patrick Weber, a former pediatrician for the Indian Health Service, is set to stand trial for the second time following his sentencing, last month, to 18 years’ imprisonment for the sexual abuse of multiple children. Weber was found guilty in September 2018 on four out of five counts of sexual abuse of children under his medical care in the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana.
The new trial involves multiple allegations of abuse during Dr. Weber’s time at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota –the reservation Dr. Weber moved to following an IHS investigation into concerns at Browning.
The Indian Health Service, a federal government agency, provides health services to some of the poorest communities in America and routinely struggles to recruit doctors. This appears to have led to the service hiring doctors with dubious reputations and even previous criminal convictions. In some cases, including that of Dr. Weber, the IHS have been accused of failing to respond appropriately to allegations of abuse and improper conduct. Media reports indicate the IHS preferred to deal with concerns by moving doctors between reservations. Some have accused the agency of an active cover up.
Dr. Weber started his career in Oklahoma. Despite accusations of misconduct against him by patients there, Weber was brought in to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning as a pediatrician. (The reservation’s only hospital had not had a pediatrician for some time.)
Among Weber’s first actions was to extend an outreach program to middle schools but, almost immediately, concerns began to be raised against him. Children regularly visited his house; he ran evening clinics frequented by unaccompanied minors; he took children out to basketball games and shopping malls and he seemed to always cherry-pick adolescent boys of normal weight for treatment. The chairman of the Blackfeet tribe, who worked in the facilities department, came across a large quantity of toys, games and candy in the basement of Weber’s home, raising his suspicions.
The situation escalated when a family member assaulted Weber, prompting the IHS to call in Acting Clinical Director Randy Rottenbiller to question the doctor over allegations of pedophilia. The doctor announced he was leaving Browning anyway but took up a post at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation soon after.
Fresh concerns were raised and the doctor was again assaulted, this time by friends of one of his alleged victims, yet he did not press charges.
Only when tribal police investigators tracked down the victim, who was by this time serving time in jail, did the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs launch the investigation that would finally lead to Dr. Weber’s indictment.
In the trial, held at Great Falls Montana courthouse in September 2018, the prosecution brought forward several of Weber’s victims to testify against him. One man, a convicted bank robber, broke down in court as he recounted the graphic details of his abuse. When cross-examined by the defense over why he didn’t come forward at the time, the man admitted that he still didn’t want to talk about being abused as a boy.
After three days, Weber was found guilty of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, attempted sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. He was cleared of one count of abusive sexual contact of a minor. In addition to his 18 year jail term, Weber was ordered to pay $2,000.
Recently, national media reported on the Weber case, summarizing as follows: “A Pedophile Doctor Drew Suspicions for 21 Years. No One Stopped Him. The federal government’s Indian Health Service failed to protect Native American boys from Pat Weber’s sexual abuse, despite repeated warning signs.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-pedophile-doctor-drew-suspicions-for-21-years-no-one-stopped-him-11549639961
Following the Weber case, the IHS have ordered an independent investigation into the doctor’s tenure.
Crew Janci, LLP specialize in cases regarding sexual abuse, including at treatment facilities and by care providers. If you have any information about ongoing or previous abuse, contact our sensitive team on 1-888-407-0224 or fill out our confidential form.