DEVELOPING: Hettinger surgeon pleads not guilty to sexual abuse of a minor

West River General Surgeon Robert Gustafson pleaded not guilty on Monday to 12 criminal counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of a teenage girl in Oregon.

Robert Gustafson
Robert Gustafson

By BRYCE MARTIN
Group Editor | bmartin@countrymedia.net

West River General Surgeon Robert Gustafson pleaded not guilty on Monday to 12 criminal counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of a teenage girl in Oregon.

Gustafson, 46, began working in November as a surgeon specializing in laparoscopic surgery at the West River Health Services hospital in Hettinger. He had relocated to the area from Spearfish, S.D., and had previously worked at a hospital there.

According to court records obtained by the Pioneer, Gustafson faces 12 criminal counts related to the alleged 2-year sexual abuse of a girl in Clasp County, Ore. The abuse was said to have begun in 2009 when she was “not yet 14 years old,” according to a court complaint.

Bail for Gustafson was set at $250,000. He was ordered to avoid contact with minors unless it was necessary to his occupation.

It was indicated by the Associated Press that Gustafson’s attorney said his client would post the required 10 percent of his bail and return to Hettinger. His attorney said West River indicated they would hold his job for him.

West River CEO Jim Long will release a statement at 3 p.m. today to The Herald.

Gustafson was born in Minneapolis, Minn., and raised in eastern South Dakota. He attended UCLA and went to medical school at the University of South Dakota.

West River has several clinics in western North Dakota, including one in New England

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