Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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Federal pension revoked from IHS doctor convicted of sexually abusing children on Pine Ridge

Stanley Patrick Weber, a former pediatrician for the Indian Health Service, was convicted in September 2018 in Montana of sexually abusing children under his care. Then in February 2020 he was sentenced to an additional five lifetime prison terms in South Dakota. 

Even though he is in federal custody, until last November, Weber, 72, was still receiving his federal pension worth $98,285.64 a year. All told, Weber stood to be paid over $1.8 million over the course of his first 18-year prison term in the Montana conviction. 

The second convictions in South Dakota stem from Weber’s time on the Pine Ridge Reservation between 1998 and 2007. Pine Ridge tribal prosecutor Elaine Yellow Horse was responsible for the success of the case due to her ability to identify a victim who was willing to come forward and who inspired other men to come forward long after their experience as boys. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, which spearheaded a many years-long investigation of Weber, the pension was finally cut off on Nov. 12, 2020. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Coast Guard told the Journal that the Coast Guard processes pension payments for retired members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, such as Weber. 

Christopher Weaver has been reporting on the Weber case for years. On March 16 he reported that a spokeswoman for the Public Health Service, Kate Migliaccio-Grabill, explained the delay in removing Weber’s pension benefits. According to her, the agency had to wait until Weber was convicted and sentenced before they could move forward to strip him of his pension. 

Weaver wrote, “about 21 months passed between the time Weber was initially sentenced and a Board of Inquiry convened, costing taxpayers almost $180,000 by the time the pension was cut off.” 

The article in the Wall Street Journal reported that the Public Health Service, a uniformed service that provides medical personnel to some federal programs and is operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, declined to answer any questions about Mr. Weber’s pension, claiming it was barred from disclosing such personnel information by the federal Privacy Act. 

It is known that the Public Health Service convened a Board of Inquiry to review Weber’s discharge status with the intention to block his pension on October 13, 2020. 

Afterward, a spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, said the board recommended changing Weber’s discharge status from “honorable” to “dismissed” and terminating his retired commission along with all related benefits, including his pension, and that the Board had briefed the senator on the recommendation. 

Weaver reported that, “Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the time, said in an interview that he adopted the recommendations in full. He said the Public Health Service lacked the existing legal authority granted to other uniformed services to review a retired officer’s discharge status, leading to a lengthy process behind the scenes.” 

Since the convictions more alleged victims of Weber have come forward and attempted to sue the federal government for its role in allowing Weber’s continued crimes in Montana and South Dakota over the years. 

As of this writing most of the cases are still in litigation. However, it is known that the government paid $200,000 to settle claims in a case in Montana where a Blackfeet tribal member alleged abuse by Weber in the 1990s. 

Indian Health Services is offering confidential counseling and services to victims of Weber. Call the confidential hotline at 1-301-443-0658. Counseling for victims of sexual violence is also available at the Sacred Heart Center in Eagle Butte. Call the Crisis Line at (800) 390-9298. You can also call the Trevor Project hotline at (866) 488-7386.

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