“PREDATOR ON THE RESERVATION”

February 13, 2019 at 4:45 am

Frontline and The Wall Street Journal investigate the federal government’s decades-long failure to stop a pediatrician accused of sexually abusing Native American boys.

Aired February 12, 2019.

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>>> IN JANUARY, A GOVERNMENT
PEDIATRICIAN WAS SENTENCED TO
MORE THAN 18 YEARS IN PRISON
SEVERAL COUNTS OF SEXUALLY
ABUSING NATIVE AMERICAN BOYS IN
HIS CARE.
THE DOCTOR HAD BEEN EMPLOYED BY
THE INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE, A
FEDERAL AGENCY THAT OVERSEES
HEALTH CARE AND RUNS HOSPITALS
ON NATIVE AMERICAN RESERVATIONS
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
AN INVESTIGATION BY THE "WALL
STREET JOURNAL" AND "FRONTLINE"
HAS UNCOVERED THAT FOR DECADES
THE AGENCY IGNORED REPEATED
WARNINGS ABOUT THE DOCTOR'S
BEHAVIOR AND EVEN TRANSFERRED
HIM FROM RESERVATION TO
RESERVATION DESPITE ALLEGATIONS
AGAINST HIM.
THE REVELATIONS ARE THE SUBJECT
OF "PREDATOR ON THE RESERVATION"
A NEW PBS DOCUMENTARY.
>> ALLEGATIONS SWIRLED AROUND
THIS RESERVATION DOCTOR FOR
YEARS.
>> I WAS FLOORED BECAUSE OF WHAT
I SAW THERE, A LOT OF ITEMS THAT
BOYS WOULD PLAY WITH.
>> WE INVESTIGATE THE
GOVERNMENT'S FAILURE TO STOP
DECADES OF ABUSE.
>> WHY PROTECT A PEDOPHILE?
IF THEY KNEW ABOUT IT, WHY DID
THEY PROTECT HIM?
>> DESPITE THE WARNINGS.
>> WHAT KIND OF COVERUP IS THIS?
THIS INVOLVES A LOT OF PEOPLE IN
A LOT OF HIGH PLACES.
>> WATCH ONLINE OR ON AIR
STARTING FEBRUARY 12th.
>>> JOINING US NOW IS
CHRISTOPHER WEAVER, ONE OF THE
"WALL STREET JOURNAL" REPORTERS
FEATURED IN THE DOCUMENTARY.
WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> FIRST, LET'S START OFF WITH
JUST HOW YOU WERE ABLE TO
UNCOVER THIS STORY, BECAUSE THIS
SEEMS LIKE SOMETHING THAT WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT A COMMUNITY I
THINK MOST AMERICANS DON'T
REALLY GIVE THAT MUCH THOUGHT TO
AND A HEALTH CARE PROBLEM THAT
NOBODY EVEN KNEW EXISTED.
>> SO IT STARTED OFF A COUPLE
YEARS AGO WITH A COLLEAGUE.
WE WERE WRITING ABOUT SOME
INDIAN HOSPITALS RUN BY THE U.S.
GOVERNMENT OUT THE IN THIS PART
OF THE COUNTRY, THE DAKOTAS,
NEBRASKA, MONTANA WHERE
HOSPITALS THAT THE GOVERNMENT
ITSELF WAS RUNNING WERE FALLING
SHORT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S OWN
REQUIREMENTS FOR WHAT HOSPITALS
COULD DO.
THAT MEANT MISSING DIAGNOSES AND
HAVING PATIENTS DIE FOR REALLY
NO GOOD REASON.
WE REALIZED THEY HAD A LOT OF
STRUCTURAL ISSUES.
ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THEY WERE
FACING WAS IT WAS HARD TO GET
DOCTORS TO COME WORK THERE.
AS A CONSEQUENCE THEY WERE
HIRING DOCTORS WHO BROUGHT SOME
BAGGAGE WITH THEM TO THE JOB.
>> OF COURSE THAT LED YOU TO
THIS SPECIFIC DOCTOR, DR.
STANLEY PATRICK WEBER.
>> YEAH.
IN THE COURSE OF THE REPORTING
WE STARTED HEARING RUMORS ABOUT
A PEDIATRICIAN AT THE PINE RIDGE
INDIAN HOSPITAL IN A REMOTE
SOUTHWESTERN CORNER OF SOUTH
DAKOTA.
THE WORD ON THE STREET WAS THIS
DOCTOR WAS MOLESTING HIS
PATIENTS AND HAD BEEN FOR SOME
TIME.
WHEN I WAS INDICTED ON TEN
COUNTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ON
NATIVE AMERICAN BOYS IN FEBRUARY
OF 2017, WE THOUGHT THIS COULD
BE A BIG STORY AND WE REALLY
NEED TO FIND OUT DID THEY KNOW,
DID THE U.S. GOVERNMENT OR AT
LEAST ITS LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES
KNOW THEY HAD A PROBLEM WITH
THIS GUY.
>> OF COURSE THAT SEEMS TO BE
THE CRUX OF THE WHOLE
DOCUMENTARY THAT WE SEE, IS
EXACTLY WHO KNEW WHAT, WHO DID
OR DID NOT SAY ANYTHING AMID
WHEN.
WITHOUT GIVING THE WHOLE THING
AWAY, TELL US SOME OF WHAT YOU
WERE ABLE TO UNCOVER.
>> YEAH.
BASICALLY WE FOUND THAT FOR AT
LEAST 21 YEARS THERE WERE PRETTY
SERIOUS WARNING SIGNS COMING TO
THE ATTENTION OF U.S. GOVERNMENT
OFFICIALS IN MONTANA AND THEN IN
SOUTH DAKOTA.
IT GOT TO THE POINT AT A
HOSPITAL WHERE THIS GUY WORKED
IN THE BLACKFEET RESERVATION IN
THE FAR NORTH OF MONTANA THAT
REGIONAL IHS OFFICIALS, INDIAN
HEALTH SERVICE OFFICIALS THERE
WERE SO CONVINCED HE WAS A
PEDOPHILE THAT THEY ORDERED HIS
BOSS AT THIS PARTICULAR HOSPITAL
IN BROWNING, MONTANA, TO DO
WHATEVER IT TOOK TO GET RID OF
HIM.
BUT INSTEAD OF FIRING THE
DOCTOR, STARTING AN
INVESTIGATION, WHAT THEY DID IS
THEY TRANSFERRED HIM TO ANOTHER
FACILITY RUN BY THE SAME FEDERAL
AGENCY IN SOUTH DAKOTA.
>> UNFORTUNATELY, THIS RINGS
VERY FAMILIAR TO STORIES THAT
WE'VE SEEN, OF COURSE, COVERED
ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
BUT I DO WANT TO TURN A LITTLE
BIT TO THE VICTIMS, BECAUSE YOU
WERE ABLE TO CONTACT SOME OF HIS
VICTIMS AND GET A SENSE OF WHAT
THE LONG-TERM IMPACT HAS BEEN ON
THEM.
>> YEAH.
WE'VE BEEN IN TOUCH WITH A
NUMBER OF HIS KNOWN AND ALLEGED
VICTIMS.
WE WERE NOT ABLE TO GET ON VIDEO
SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT WE
TALKED TO AND THE REASON IS THAT
MANY OF THE PEOPLE THAT, YOU
KNOW, SAY HE MOLESTED THEM AS
BOYS ARE IN PRISON NOW OR JAIL
AND A NUMBER HAVE CYCLED IN AND
OUT OF INCARCERATION, EVEN
DURING THE TIME WE'VE BEEN
REPORTING THIS STORY.
AND BEYOND THAT, MANY HAVE
STRUGGLED WITH SUBSTANCE ABUSE
AND DRUGS AND ALCOHOL, POVERTY,
DEPRESSION.
I THINK, YOU KNOW, THE FACT THAT
THE GUY HAS BEEN INDICTED AND
NOW CONVICTED IN MONTANA HAS
SORT OF FORCED SOME OF THESE
BOYS TO LOOK IN THE FACE WHAT
HAPPENED TO THEM AND WHAT THE
CONSEQUENCES OVER THE COURSE OF
THEIR LIVES HAVE BEEN.
>> WELL, WHAT DO YOU THINK, IS
THIS STORY A CANARY IN A COAL
MINE?
OR DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE MORE
INCIDENTS?
>> JUST IN OUR REPORTING WE
FOUND MANY EXAMPLES OF DOCTORS
WHO HAD ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMS IN
THEIR PAST, CLINICAL ISSUES,
CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS, LICENSING
BY STATE AGENCIES.
THE INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE HAS A
LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH EMPLOYEES
WHO HAVE TROUBLING
BACKGROUNBACKGROUNDS.
THEY FACE ALL KINDS OF ISSUES
LIKE HOW MUCH MONEY THEY GET
FROM CONGRESS TO RUN THESE
SERVICES.
WHAT THE ANSWER IS A LOT LESS
CLEAR BECAUSE THE PEOPLE TRYING
TO FIX IT HAVE FEW OPTIONS.
>> THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPORTING.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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