(Update Thursday, 11am – Joe Walker has posted bail and is no longer in jail.)
He’s going home. That’s what attorney Ron Bamieh said about his client, Dr. Andrew Bourne of Mammoth Lakes. He also commented on a declaration made by a Santa Barbara investigator.
Bamieh said that the terms of his client’s release include the order that he must stay in Mammoth Lakes or in Ventura County where his attorney is located. He is also allowed to attend court in Santa Barbara County. Asked if Bourne must wear an electronic device as a term of release, Bamieh said, “He may have to to avoid false accusations of his whereabouts.” The attorney said the Santa Barbara County Sheriff doesn’t have the ability to deal with electronic devices so Bourne may have to hire a private company.
As for the original bail set on Bourne and Joe Walker for a million dollars each, Bamieh called it “an extraordinarily high bail.” He pointed to the fact that Joe Walker faces a charge of actual sexual intercourse with a minor and Bourne does not, yet they have the same bail. Bamieh called it “ridiculous” to treat them the same. The million dollar bail was reduced to $750,000 on each man during a hearing Tuesday. At last word, Joe Walker remained in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail.
Both Walker and Bourne face charges of contacting a minor for purposes of sex. Walker also stands charged with commission of a lewd act on a child of 14 or 15. Santa Barbara Deputy DA Mary Barron said in open court that she expects to file additional charges. Asked about that, Bourne’s attorney said he didn’t know what Barron was talking about. He said he has seen no discovery evidence yet.
Asked about the declaration filed in conjunction with bail in this case, Bamieh said it includes “a lot of suspicions and opinion” by a police officer, J.C. Hunter of the Santa Barbara Police force. The attorney said that the officer accused his client of improper conduct with a young girl, based on email communication. Bamieh said it’s a lot of opinion and the context of the emails is unclear. He hopes to have more evidence from the District Attorney’s office by the next hearing on January 19th.
Meanwhile, Mammoth Hospital CEO, Gary Boyd, issued an assurance of surgical coverage in Dr. Bourne’s absence. Boyd gave us this statement:
“We have been working on General Surgery coverage for the past week and Mammoth Hospital has call and clinic coverage starting Friday evening, January 13 through March 1. Key individuals providing coverage are: Bryan Fandrich, M.D., and Marc Sedwitz, M.D., two long-term physicians who have provided coverage at Mammoth Hospital, and two locum tenens surgeons. As the situation evolves with Dr. Andrew Bourne, we will continue to provide scheduling of providers for General Surgery, clinic, and call coverage and, if necessary, provide permanent staffing.
I realize that this is a difficult time for everyone but we are committed to providing high quality health care to our patients and community, including General Surgery. In addition, I would like to thank Northern Inyo Hospital for providing surgical back up to our Hospital these past few days.”