Sheriff: Case ‘Shocked my conscience’
Published 4:00 pm Friday, June 3, 2016
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
CALERA – After the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office identified and arrested an 80-year-old Calera man on multiple felony sex charges, Sheriff John Samaniego held a press conference to discuss the “shocking” crime.
Dr. Ruepert Don Bryan, who lists an address on in the 100 block of Kensington Manor Drive in Calera, Calera is facing three felony charges of producing obscene matter and one felony count of first-degree sexual abuse, according to June 3 press release from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
“In my 40-year career, I’ve seen a lot of crime,” Samaniego said. “This one shocked my conscience, it really did. It’s a very serious case.”
At this time, each of the known victims related to Bryan’s charges are underaged, according to Samaniego.
He confirmed that Bryan worked as an ear, nose and throat doctor in Alabaster, although it is not known at this time if his victims were related in any way to his practice.
According to court documents, Bryan allegedly produced obscene matter of a person under the age of 17 that included “breast nudity, sodomy, sexual abuse and other sexual conduct” on Jan. 1, 2002.
From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2002, court documents state the suspect allegedly produced more obscene matter containing similar content.
Bryan was brought into custody on June 3, one day after being identified as a person of interest in the case. On Thursday, June 2, the SCSO issued a request for the public’s help in identifying the man, and were able to locate him within a matter of hours of doing so.
On June 2, SCSO deputy Debbie Summrall said Bryan was wanted in a “serious crime that would shock the community.”
Samaniego said the SCSO learned of the crime from video evidence that was left behind. With assistance of the media, he said they were able to identify the suspect as Bryan and find witnesses who positively identified him.
“The behavior that was in the evidence was shocking, and somebody that is a physician is obviously a very intelligent individual that worked very hard to obtain that degree,” Samaniego added. “Then to practice successfully as long as he has, it was overwhelmingly shocking.”
The SCSO plans to move forward with the investigation, and Samaniego said he expects more charges may be filed against the suspect.
At this time, he said they are not certain where the incidents occurred, how many victims could be involved or how long these crimes have been occurring.
“We urge anyone with additional information to contact us,” Samaniego said. “The nature of these crimes prevent us from releasing more details, but what we can tell you is we would not have been able to solve this without the help from all those involved. We greatly value the partnership we have with everyone involved, especially the community and the media.”
He also urged any other witnesses to come forward, so they can work to put this case to rest.
Bryan is currently being held at the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $500,000.
Production of pornography with a minor is a Class A felony, carrying a life sentence, and first-degree sexual abuse is a Class C felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.