Child porn suspect seeks reduced bond for fourth time

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A Shelby County Circuit Court judge will decide in mid-July if he will reduce the bond for an elderly former Alabaster physician who is facing charges alleging he produced child pornography.

On June 5, attorneys for 83-year-old Dr. Ruepert Bryan, who lists an address on Kensington Manor Drive in Calera, requested Bryan’s bond be reduced from its current total of $500,000, claiming the amount Bryan is being held on is “exorbitant.”

“Your defendant is 83 years of age and in very poor health. His physical and mental faculties are failing,” Bryan’s attorneys wrote. “A motion for inpatient psychological evaluation was filed and granted one year ago, and yet no evaluation has taken place and the defendant is still awaiting that evaluation. Counsel has made a request for Taylor-Hardin Mental Health Facility to do an emergency evaluation on Ruepert Don Bryan, who himself is a physician, but no such evaluation has taken place.”

In late September 2016, a Shelby County grand jury returned a four-count indictment against 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.

This marks the third time Bryan’s attorneys have requested a reduced bond for the suspect over the past few years. Circuit Court Judges Bill Bostick, Hewitt Conwill and Daniel Crowson have denied previous reduced bond requests.

In the most recent bond reduction request, Bryan’s attorneys wrote he “has family willing to look after (him) and can provide him a place to live,” and claimed none of the videotapes collected as evidence in the case contained child pornography.

“The initial exorbitant bond was granted based upon approximately 500 videotapes that were seized allegedly from your defendant, and initially it was believed that these videotapes contained child pornography,” read the bond reduction request. “After a significant amount of time for the Sheriff’s Department to view all of these tapes, none of them contained any child pornography. However, the exorbitant bond of half a million dollars has remained in place.”

Bryan’s attorneys requested the bond be set between $10,000 and $60,000 for each of the production of child pornography charges, and between $2,500 and $15,000 on the first-degree sexual abuse charge.

Bostick is set to rule on the bond reduction request at 8:30 a.m. on July 16.