COMMENTARY BY SAM SPITAL, California Professional License Attorney and San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer:
“A Podiatrist surrendered himself after an arrest warrant was issued for felony possession of child pornography per an account by the NBC Channel 7 online news edition on December 12, 2012. Little if anything else was reported in the article, and most importantly there was no explanation, mitigation and/or defense noted.
A Doctor of Podiatry is trained in foot care and, therefore, can diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions related to the foot, ankle, and lower extremities.
A check of the Board of Podiatric Medicine website indicates Dr. Pete Thomas has been licensed in California since July 1, 1990. It is likely the Board will open an investigation if it does not already have one in place. Upon evaluating the evidence if it can be established there exists a sufficient basis for disciplinary action, the matter will be submitted to the Office of Attorney General to file an Accusation seeking to suspend or revoke his license to practice podiatry. An administrative hearing would then be scheduled in which an Administrative Law Judge would hear the evidence, including written and oral testimony. The Deputy Attorney General must prove the case by clear and convincing evidence, which burden of proof is much less than a criminal case that requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, but much greater than in a civil case in which one need only present a preponderance of evidence to prevail.”
COMMENTARY BY SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL ATTORNEY SAM SPITAL:
“Internet sex crimes against children are escalating and parents need to be vigilant to avoid what has become a despicable and outrageous scourge in modern society. Clearly, the solution is not to remove computers from children. Even using available tools to restrict access on individual computers is not a full-proof solution because the internet can be accessed at countless places and in locations otherwise unknown by a parent. Open, regular and continuous communications between parents and children continues to be the most valuable approach advocated by most counselors, teachers and experts. The goal is not to cross the boundary to become a friend rather than a parent, but certainly to build and maintain love and respect, as well as establishing proper ethics and morals.
On December 6, 2012, a 41 year old first grade elementary school teacher in Chula Vista, a city in San Diego, was arrested on suspicion of 11 counts of lewd and lascivious acts on children under the age of 14. One of the charges is molesting a young boy. Apparently, the suspect posed as a 13 year old girl who used a web site named ‘MeetMe’ and has utilized other similar web sites to lure young boys to disrobe during webcam communications. The story contained no reference to possible exculpatory evidence (facts that would be favorable to the defense), remorse and/or mitigation, all of which may likely be presented by defense counsel on behalf of the suspect.
This has allegedly taken place while charges are already pending on possessing child pornography.Bail has been set for approximately $1 million.”