Trump to form task force investigating how IHS doctor sexually abused children for decades
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday President Trump announced that he’s forming a task force to investigate the institutional and systematic breakdown that failed to prevent a predatory pediatrician from sexually assaulting children for decades while acting as a doctor in the Indian Health Service system.
The pediatrician, 70-year-old Stanley Patrick Weber, left the agency in 2016, and is currently in federal prison for sexually abusing two Montana boys in the 1990’s on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Weber is also facing charges for allegedly sexually abusing minors between 1999 and 2011 while he was employed with IHS on Pine Ridge.
According to Jeffrey Starnes, one of the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutors in the Montana case,
“Weber has never had to face the consequences of his actions. In fact, when questions were raised about his behavior, he simply moved to a new community where he continued his pattern of criminality. Meanwhile, his victims grew up, saddled with confusion, shame, and fear that they could not reveal what happened to them as children, lest they face further embarrassment and ridicule from members of their community.
The impact of Weber’s crimes ultimately manifested in his victims in the form of legal problems, drug and alcohol abuse, the inability to maintain steady relationships, and a struggle to lead a normal and productive life. Even after his conviction, Weber continues to be unapologetic for his actions and shows no remorse for his victims or the harm he inflicted upon them. In fact, it is doubtful that he views his actions as criminal at all. His decades of predatory sexual abuse of children are among the most heinous and serious crimes cognizable by federal criminal law.”
Trump’s task force won’t be involved in any of the criminal investigations into Weber, but will focus on the systemic problems that failed to prevent his behavior. It will then develop recommended policies, protocols and best practices to protect Native American children and prevent such abuse from happening again.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, “The Task Force will be comprised of subject-matter experts from several United States Government agencies, and co-chaired by Joseph Grogan, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the Honorable Trent Shores, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma and citizen of the Choctaw Nation. The Task Force will also draw on the expertise of other Federal employees and resources and seek perspective and input from tribal leaders and Native American voices.”
Weber is scheduled to appear in Rapid City in May for the charges against him stemming from his time working on the Pine Ridge Reservation.