HHS responds to Daines’ push to revoke pension of convicted pedophile doctor

Efforts by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) to revoke the government pension of a retired federal medical doctor convicted of sexually assaulting minors gained ground last week.

The head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps assured Sen. Daines that his call for action against convicted pedophile Stanley Patrick Weber, a retired doctor with the U.S. Indian Health Service, was under consideration.

“I’m glad to see HHS respond to my demand and take action in finding a way to prevent this convicted pedophile from receiving a dime of his government pension,” Sen. Daines said. “This disgusting situation should never have happened in the first place — that’s why I’ve introduced and am fighting for legislation that would prevent future convicted pedophiles from receiving a government pension.”

Weber, convicted in 2017 and 2018, is serving an 18-year sentence for sexually abusing boys at a Montana Indian Reservation hospital, yet stands to earn a U.S. pension of $1.8 million while in prison. 

According to the June 26 letter sent to Sen. Daines by Adm. Brett Giroir, the medical doctor who oversees the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, HHS is “committed to working expeditiously to address this issue.”

Speaking on behalf of HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Giroir wrote that the Corps is convening a board of inquiry (BOI) to determine post-retirement actions against Weber, including a request to prohibit him from collecting any government benefits, including his pension.

“A BOI is the Corps’ most aggressive disciplinary administrative action … through which a Corps officer can be demoted and/or the characterization of a Corps officer’s service can be amended from ‘honorable discharge’ to ‘other than honorable,’” Dr. Giroir wrote Sen. Daines. 

Giroir added that the Corps is working with HHS to review a statute giving the HHS Secretary authority to involuntarily recall a retired Corps officer to active duty only with the retired officer’s consent, according to the letter.

“Due to this limitation,” he wrote, “the Corps has no direct mechanism to discipline retired Corps officers who have engaged in misconduct, while on active duty but not discovered until after retirement, that results in the conviction of a criminal offense.”