Child porn suspect’s charges sent to grand jury

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies escort inmate Dr. Ruepert Don Bryan into a patrol car for transport back to the Shelby County Jail following a June 22 hearing at the Shelby County Courthouse. (File)

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies escort inmate Dr. Ruepert Don Bryan into a patrol car for transport back to the Shelby County Jail following a June 22 hearing at the Shelby County Courthouse. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A Shelby County grand jury will decide during the coming months if it will uphold charges against an 80-year-old former Alabaster doctor who is facing multiple child pornography and sexual abuse charges.

On July 27, Shelby County District Court Judge Daniel Crowson Jr. bound over three charges of production of child pornography and one count of first-degree sexual abuse against 80-year-old Calera resident Dr. Ruepert Don Bryan to a grand jury.

During an upcoming session, a grand jury will review the evidence in the case, and will decide if it will uphold the charges against Bryan.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrested Bryan, who lists an address on Kensington Manor Drive in Calera, on June 3 and charged him with three felony charges of producing obscene matter and one felony count of first-degree sexual abuse.

According to his arrest warrants, Bryan allegedly produced obscene matter of a person under the age of 17 including “breast nudity, sodomy, sexual abuse and other sexual conduct” on Jan. 1, 2002.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2002, Bryan’s arrest warrants allege he 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.

Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego previously said SCSO deputies learned of the alleged crimes after discovering video evidence of them.

Bryan, who previously worked as an ear, nose and throat doctor in Alabaster, has been held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $500,000 since his arrest.

The charges were bound over to a grand jury a few weeks after Crowson denied a request to reduce Bryan’s bond. In the request, Bryan’s attorney claimed the bond was “in excess of the defendant or the defendant’s family’s capabilities.”

The bond reduction request also claimed Bryan does not have any previous arrests or convictions, has been a licensed physician in Alabama for more than 40 years and “is in poor health.”

Following a June 22 hearing on the bond reduction request, Crowson denied Bryan’s bond reduction request. After the hearing, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office escorted Bryan, who was in a wheelchair, into a waiting patrol car for transport back to the jail.