Former Pine Ridge IHS doctor is convicted of child sexual abuse and serves life behind bars
The former Indian Health Service pediatrician convicted of sexually abusing Native American children will now spend the rest of his life in prison.
71-year-old Stanley Patrick Weber was sentenced Monday for numerous counts of sexual abuse on four Native American children on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
The week-long jury trial established that Weber committed child sexual abuse between 1999 and 2011.
Judge Jeffrey Viken sentenced Weber to life in prison on five counts of aggravated sexual abuse and the max of 15 years behind bars on three more counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Judge Viken said Weber will serve the sentences consecutive to each other and consecutive to the 18-year prison sentence a Montana judge issued for a similar conviction on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning.
Weber will also have to pay $800,000 in criminal fines along with $800 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund as a special assessment fee.
A handful of the victims worked up the courage to tell their stories Monday in federal court about how Weber's actions affected their lives.
The current Oglala Sioux Tribe President, Julian Bear Runner, voiced his story as a former patient of Weber's when he was younger.
Four other men shared their testimony as victims of Weber, expressing the trauma they are working through and all saying that Weber "ruined their lives."
After emotional testimony from one victim, the victim's mother said Weber took her son's childhood away and added, "I look at my son and feel I failed him because I trusted him [Weber] with my son."
A physician who used to work with Weber at Indian Health Services on the reservation expressed his frustration with Weber and how for 15 years he was trying to expose him.
Judge Jeffrey Viken said he based his sentencing on how Weber took advantage of the boys' vulnerability and innocence.
The team of federal prosecutors said they are happy with the outcome and hopes this case sends the message of "never again."
"Every level of federal government is looking at what happened here, this tragedy and saying what can we do to ensure it can never happen again. And I think we will hear later this month from the White House's Taskforce examining this very issue. What went wrong here and how we can make sure that this never happens again," U.S. Attorney Ron Parsons said.
After the sentencing, the emotional victim's mother who also spoke in court, said she is happy with the outcome and "at least he [Weber] cannot get out and hurt anybody."
The grandmother to that same victim said the outcome of this case is a major moment for the Native American community because it "finally feels like a victory, where we were heard and believed."
Parsons said the federal government is offering the victims counseling services and will continue to offer them.
Assistant U.S. Attorney and Senior Litigation Council Sarah Collins said the team spent thousands of hours working on this case.
She said the Bureau of Indian Affairs investigators and the members of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General conducted more than 200 interviews for this case.
Weber is currently being held at the Pennington County Jail.