Popular California Doctor Charged With Producing Child Porn

By - September 20, 2017
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A labor and delivery physician from Bountiful, California is facing numerous charges of sex abuse of a child in state court. He also has been indicted in federal court by a grand jury.

Nathan C. Ward, MD, 55, was indicted in federal court on charges of production of child pornography, possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.

The US attorney on the case, John Huber, stated during the announcement of the federal indictment that child pornography is becoming such a large problem that it is almost akin to ‘background noise.’ He noted that his Utah office prosecutes 40 child porn cases every year. By the time the case has gotten to the federal level, it usually involves the worst offenders.

Huber added that typical perpetrators today engaging in Internet sex crimes and child sexual abuse are not men wearing trench coats in dark alleys. Instead, they are people who have gotten the trust of the victim.

“They are in every demographic, every walk of life. We have arrested millionaire businessmen, and we have arrested the unemployed, teachers, doctors, public safety officials, day care owners, camp counselors. What they all have in common is the same heinous crime,” said Eric Barnhart, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Salt Lake division.

Huber also stated that the Ward sex crime investigation led to the indictment of another man from Lehi, California. Robert E. Francis, 41, was also indicted for producing child pornography, receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Ward Investigated for Sick, Child Rape Conversations

When Ward was first placed under arrest, a probable cause report was issued. It stated that Ward was being investigated for having online conversations where he allegedly discussed raping girls from the ages of 13 to 15. He also allegedly discussed his desire to rape females and minors.

Federal prosecutors think that the person he was communicating with was Francis.

Regarding Ward’s indictment, federal prosecutors allege that he coerced a child born in 1998 to engage in sexually explicit contact with the purpose of producing ‘visual depictions’ of the conduct. Prosecutors stated that he knew that these visual depictions would then be taken across state lines and put into foreign commerce.

The indictment also states that Ward started to distribute child pornography on a date that is not known, and continued until Aug. 16.

Popular Doc Charged With Multiple Felonies

The physician has been very popular in Bountiful, CA over the years. He was charged Aug. 7 in 2nd District Court with 11 felonies. These included sodomy on a child and child molestation, aggravated sex abuse of a child and forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies; plus two counts of forcible sex abuse and six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all second-degree felonies.

State charging documents also have accused the doctor of sexually abusing a 13 year old female in 2012, and sexually abusing a girl from 2012 to 2015 when he occupied a position of trust over the girl. It was not stated if this girl was one of his patients.

The charges further stated that from January to September 2016, Ward was in possession of, viewed or shared six images at minimum of child pornography.

Ward was originally arrested on July 20. He was then rearrested on Aug. 4 and held without bail. Last week, the federal judge ordered that the doctor stay behind bars until the trial. It has been scheduled for Nov. 20. His next hearing on the state charges will be on Oct. 25.

If he is convicted on federal charges of producing child por, he faces 30 years in federal prison. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years. Distribution of child pornography has a maximum 20 year federal prison sentence, according to federal sentencing guidelines.

Child Porn a Growing Problem, Feds Say

Huber held a press conference last week encouraging the general public, especially parents, to help more in the fight against child pornography by having very frank talks with their children.

He said that some parents are embarrassed to have such discussions with their children, and families do not talk as much about stranger danger as years ago.

It is important to note, Huber said, that many modern child exploiters are people that the children know.

Former Patients Express Shock and Disgust

What has made this child sex abuse and child pornography case more concerning for the community is that Ward was a very well known and popular OB/GYN who practiced for many years in Davis County, California.

One of his former patients reported that she was shocked and disgusted when the allegations came out. She also noted that there was something about his manner that disturbed her when she was in his office.

Still another former patient stated that the investigation was occurring as far back as November 2016. It means that he was examining her as the sex crime investigation was ongoing. The woman said that she felt ‘violated and sick’ about the entire thing if the allegations are true.