On Tuesday, the award-winning PBS program Frontline will air “Predator on the Reservation.” It’s a collaboration with the Wall Street Journal that outlines the crimes of Dr. Stanley Patrick Weber, a former pediatrician on the Blackfeet Reservation who was sentenced last month to more than 18 years in prison for sexually abusing young boys.
Wall Street Journal reporters Christopher Weaver and Dan Frosch began their investigation two years ago while reporting on misconduct of medical professionals in the Indian Health Services, or IHS.
Dr. Stanley Patrick Weber arrived in Browning in 1992 to work at the town’s hospital run by Indian Health Services. He made a good first impression and helped expand the hospital’s youth outreach programs.
But not everyone was sold. Back then, Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Tim Davis was working in the hospital’s facilities department. His duties included inspecting government owned housing, including where Weber lived.
“The gentleman had a lot of food items, candy, pop, cookies and toys, games, video games that boys would play with,” said Davis.
Others at the hospital became suspicious as well. They were concerned about an after-hours clinic Weber started where he would see children without a parent or another adult present.
“This is grooming behavior,” said Becky Foster, a former IHS Mental Health Specialist. “So you take kids who are high risk, who are from difficult family circumstances and who are poor. And you offer them new clothes and you offer them food and you offer them a home where the lights are on all the time and a child will gravitate toward that.”
After his time in Browning, Weber was transferred to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota where another doctor became concerned about his behavior. When he shared those concerns with Becky Foster and her husband Mark, a former IHS psychologist, anger and frustration set in.
“It says to me as an Indian woman, as a mother, is that your kids don’t matter,” said Becky Foster.
As allegations mounted, Dr. Weber was suspended. One of the people who investigated Weber was one of his superiors, Ron Keats, who would leave the agency and later be convicted of possession of child pornography.
According to the former CEO of the Pine Ridge IHS hospital, Weber was later cleared of any misconduct and allowed to return to work.
Weber was ultimately charged with abusing four boys on the Pine Ridge Reservation and two on the Blackfeet Reservation. In September of 2018 he stood trial in Federal Court in Great Falls. The first witness was former Blackfeet patient, Joe Four Horns
“The prosecutor in her opening statement, she puts up a picture of Joe Four Horns when he was about 10 or 11 years old, right around the time he would have been abused by Dr. Weber. She wants the jury to remember this little boy,” Dan Frosch.
Reporting by Tim McGonigal for MTN News