Pedophile Doctor Faces Board That Could Take Away His Pension
Stanley Patrick Weber arriving at federal court in Rapid City, South Dakota on Nov. 1, 2017, for a hearing after he was indicted on sexual assault charges. (Kristina Barker for The Wall Street Journal)
A former government pediatrician who has been convicted of sexually assaulting his Native American patients now faces a military-style disciplinary board that could strip him of his pension, a senior U.S. health official said in a letter.
The doctor, Stanley Patrick Weber, worked for three decades as a pediatrician at government-run Indian Health Service hospitals. He was also an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a group of uniformed health workers that follows some military conventions.
Mr. Weber was convicted in September of sexually assaulting young boys under his care. But, that didn’t stop the flow of his government pension. The Wall Street Journal reported in March he was poised to receive at least $1.8 million in federal pension payments while serving an 18-year prison term.
Mr. Weber retired from the Public Health Service at the end of 2011. He continued working at the IHS as a civilian employee until May 2016.
Now, the Public Health Service has convened a “board of inquiry” that could strip Mr. Weber of his honorable-discharge status, along with the pension and other benefits, according to a June 26 letter from Brett Giroir, a top Department of Health and Human Services official overseeing the corps.
“The Corps is requesting to change the characterization of CAPT (ret.) Weber’s service to reflect an ‘other than honorable’ discharge, which would stop him from collecting any entitlements,” according to the letter, which was addressed to Sen. Steve Daines (R., Mont.).
Sen. Daines had written to the department in March after the Journal article was published urging officials to “take whatever action necessary, within your authority, to prevent Mr. Weber from receiving his pension.”
Officials who oversaw Mr. Weber transferred him from one reservation to another when complaints about his conduct arose and ignored repeated warnings from whistleblowers, according to an investigation earlier this year by the Journal and FRONTLINE.
On Friday, Sen. Daines said in a statement that he was “glad to see HHS respond to my demand and take action in finding a way to prevent this convicted child pedophile from receiving a dime of his government pension.”
A lawyer for Mr. Weber didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Sen. Daines also introduced legislation that would give the government a more direct path to revoking pensions of employees convicted of molesting children. The bill hasn’t progressed since it was introduced in May.
A Public Health Service board of inquiry consists of three or more senior officers appointed by an HHS official to review the case, Public Health Service regulations say. The accused officer or a representative is entitled to mount a defense under the rules.
“It is rare to see a BOI on a retired person,” said Greg Rinckey, a retired U.S. Army captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC. “They’re trying to go back now and say, your service is not honorable, and because of this new information, you should not have an honorable discharge.”
An HHS spokeswoman said officials were “looking in every corner of relevant existing laws and policies to determine what possible options may be available to permit the department to take action.”