VA Hospital physician arrested on child rape charge - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

VA Hospital physician arrested on child rape charge

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Spokane VA Hospital ER Physician Dr. Craig Morgenstern was arrested in Stevens County on a charge of Child Rape Spokane VA Hospital ER Physician Dr. Craig Morgenstern was arrested in Stevens County on a charge of Child Rape
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STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. - An emergency room physician at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Spokane was arrested in Stevens County on Monday, accused of child rape.Dr. Craig Morgenstern is being charged with Second Degree Rape of a Child, and an additional count of Second Degree Rape after he allegedly was caught performing sexual acts on a child, according to the Stevens County Sheriff's Office. 

KHQ spoke with Dr. Morgenstern prior to a press conference held by the Stevens County Sheriff regarding the case, and Morgenstern didn't offer any comment on the case.

"I have an attorney that I am working with. I don't have anything to say because of my standing in the community, the less that's out there, the better," Morgenstern told KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus.

The 13-year-old victim told police he was staying at Morgenstern's house on October 17, 2014. The victim said he was carried into a bedroom and believed he was being filmed. The victim told police Morgenstern gave him hot chocolate that made him fall asleep. The Sheriff's Office told KHQ the boy did test positive for benzodiazepines, a psychoactive drug used to treat anxiety, insomnia and other conditions.

The victim told police he woke up to Morgenstern performing a "sex act" on him. When Morgenstern left the room, the victim said he got up and ran away. 

According to court documents, when police first showed up at Morgenstern's house, he approached them and said he was looking for a boy who went missing from his home. When questioned, Morgenstern denied anything inappropriate had taken place, and that the he was a friend of the boy's family and they were just watching movies. Morgenstern allowed police to search his home and they found arcade games, toys, action figures, video games and camera equipment.

Detectives also could see several electronic devices, memory cards, a thumb drive and cases of recordable DVD's.

During a search warrant conducted over the weekend, Sheriff Allen said detectives found evidence that supported the victim's claim. Sheriff Allen said the memory cards, flash drives, his computer's hard drive and other electronic items seen during the first contact with Morgenstern were missing. Court documents also said the bedding that the victim was laying on when the alleged rape occurred went missing as well. Documents also said the home had been extensively cleaned.

The victim told police he saw a camera over him during the rape. Sheriff Allen wouldn't confirm any video, however he said they found hundreds of photos of shirtless pre-teen boys in Morgenstern's home, organized neatly into eight boxes.

Sheriff Allen said Morgenstern was a friend of the victim's family. 

"We believe there are more victims out there," Sheriff Allen said during the press conference held on Wednesday. The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone who may know Morgenstern or if your child has spent time with him alone with Morgenstern, please call the Stevens County Sheriff's Office at (509) 684-5296

Morgenstern has already been arraigned and posted bond. He is not allowed to have any contact with the victim, or frequent any place where children may be. 

His trial is set for February 3, 2015. He faces life in prison if convicted. 

KHQ contacted the VA Northwest Regional Headquarters, who confirmed Morgenstern is on administrative leave, but for how long depends on the case. The VA said they are taking the allegations very seriously, but at this point, there is no indication any illegal activity happened in the context of his job. 

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