A former pediatrician with the Indian Health Service on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has been charged in U.S. District Court with multiple counts of sexual abuse against minors.
Stanley Patrick Weber, 68, of Spearfish, faces five counts of aggravated sexual abuse, one count of sexual abuse, and four counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
At his initial court appearance in federal court in Rapid City on Wednesday, Weber pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released from custody despite arguments by a prosecutor to keep him locked up.
Authorities say the incidents of abuse spanned May 1998 to August 2011 and involved Native American children younger than 16, according to Weber’s five-page charging document.
In three of the charges, the victim was described as being younger than 12. The gender of the victims was not cited in the documents.
Aggravated sexual abuse carries a prison sentence of 30 years to life, while sexual abuse carries penalties up to life imprisonment, and sexual abuse of a minor can lead to a term of up to 15 years.
Three of the victims were from South Dakota and one was from Montana, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Collins said at the hearing Wednesday.
The accusations against Weber included several "very violent" rapes of young children, Collins told the court.
Collins argued before Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann that Weber should remain in custody at the Pennington County Jail.
Weber is a flight risk, Collins said, since he has money as well as contacts in foreign countries such as Thailand, where he had traveled as recently as last year.
Wollmann decided to release Weber after one of his three private lawyers presented rebuttals, including that Weber had strong local ties in the form of a home and relatives in Spearfish.
Defense attorney Shane Pullman said also that Weber’s passport had been seized by federal authorities, and that Weber has no contact with the alleged victims. Pullman further stated that the alleged offenses happened quite some time ago and on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
The conditions of Weber’s release include not having contact with minors, wearing an ankle monitor and not having access to internet-capable mobile devices.
Weber, who at one point was acting clinical director at Pine Ridge Hospital, was arrested Tuesday. His trial has been scheduled for May 9.
The case was investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, which was also involved in Weber’s arrest, said inspector general spokesperson Katherine Harris.
Harris would not comment on when the inspector general investigation of Weber started.
Weber resigned from the Pine Ridge Hospital last year, said Oglala Sioux Tribe council member Richard Greenwald, who heads the council’s Health and Human Services Committee.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Greenwald said he was not aware Weber had been investigated, charged and arrested.