A former head of the Pine Ridge Hospital is expected to plead guilty in March to lying about receiving money from a staff doctor. The doctor is now facing accusations he sexually abused children over a 13-year period.
Wehnona Stabler, 60, is charged with making a false statement on a 2014 financial disclosure report related to her activities as chief executive officer of the Pine Ridge Indian Health Service.
Federal prosecutors say Stabler did not report receiving $5,000 from Dr. Stanley Patrick Weber despite a work policy requiring her to disclose gifts of more than $350 from one person.
Stabler, of Wathill, Neb., admitted these allegations in a statement of facts signed Feb. 2, the same day she entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the statement, the $5,000 came in the form of a check from Weber, a pediatrician and Pine Ridge Hospital’s acting clinical director at that time.
Federal employees in “positions of financial trust,” who face potential financial conflicts of interest are required to complete the Confidential Financial Disclosure Report, officially known as OGE-450. But at no time did Stabler report Weber’s monetary gift, the statement reads.
Weber, 69, was charged in federal court last February with multiple child sex crimes, including aggravated sexual abuse.
Authorities say that between 1998 and 2011, Weber molested Native American children while working as a pediatrician at the Pine Ridge Hospital. He resigned in 2016.
Weber pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been granted house arrest in Spearfish. His trial date is pending.
Court documents don’t reveal the reason for Weber’s $5,000 gift to Stabler. But a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, following Stabler’s indictment in June, included the fact that Weber was facing “multiple counts of sex abuse with minors arising when he was a pediatrician at IHS Pine Ridge.”
Both cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Collins, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General are investigating them.
Weber’s most serious charges, five counts of aggravated sexual abuse, each carry a sentence of 30 years to life in prison.
Stabler’s charge, meanwhile, is punishable by up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and/or a $250,000 fine. Under her plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said it would recommend probation for a length of time that the court deems appropriate.
She is out of jail on bond and is scheduled to appear at the Rapid City federal courthouse for a plea-change hearing March 9.