Reduced bond again denied for child porn suspect

 

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A judge has again denied a bond reduction request from an 81-year-old former Alabaster doctor who has been charged with allegedly producing child pornography, and has ordered the suspect to undergo a mental evaluation, according to documents filed on May 31 in Shelby County Circuit Court.

In late September 2016, a Shelby County grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Dr. Ruepert Bryan, upholding three felony counts of producing child pornography and one felony count of first-degree sexual abuse.

Bryan, who previously worked as an ear, nose and throat doctor in Alabaster, faces up to life in prison if he is convicted on the production of child pornography charges, and faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted of the sexual abuse charge.

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.

In April, Bryan’s attorney requested, for the third time, a reduced bond for his client. Bryan has been held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $500,000 since his arrest.

On May 31, Circuit Court Judge Bill Bostick again denied the bond reduction request, echoing previous decision by judges Hewitt Conwill and Daniel Crowson.

Also in April, Bryan’s attorney requested Bryan undergo a mental evaluation at the state’s Taylor Hardin Secure Mental Health Facility to determine if dementia played any role in his alleged criminal activity.

In the motion requesting the mental evaluation, Bryan’s attorney wrote “It is crucial to determine the extent of the defendant’s mental illnesses and the effect it would have on his ability to properly defend himself. The defendant is 81 years of age and appears to suffer from dementia.”

“The facts surrounding this case demonstrate behavior that would lead one to believe the defendant has a serious mental illness,” read the motion. “Counsel for the defendant has personally observed behavior that would lead him to believe that the defendant has a serious mental illness.”

On May 31, Bostick agreed to order a mental evaluation for Bryan to determine the suspect’s mental condition at the time of the alleged offense and his ability to assist his counsel in his legal defense.