May 13, 2006

Three UCSD doctors training in pediatric specialties have been placed on administrative leave because their home computer was allegedly used to view pornography – possibly child pornography – accessed through a Children's Hospital electronic server.

The incident came to light because Children's has heightened security after two former employees and a physician who once worked at the hospital were arrested on child pornography charges in the past two months.

The most recent case involved “a home computer with access to a Children's Hospital server, and is based on an audit that we did ourselves,” Blair Sadler, the hospital's president and chief executive officer, said yesterday.

While viewing pornography is not necessarily illegal, “the problem is that we have a zero-tolerance policy for directly or indirectly using Children's computers to view pornography, whether it is child or adult,” Sadler said. “That's what's involved here.”

Hospital officials turned over their findings to the San Diego Police Department, which is conducting its own investigation, he said.
Detective Gary Hassen, spokesman for the Police Department, confirmed the probe but said no arrests have been made. He gave no other details.

University of California San Diego officials said no one has been charged or suspended in the latest case.

“Children's is being extremely vigilant, and there's a heightened sense of activity and concern,” said UCSD spokeswoman Leslie Franz.

Tom Hanscom, spokesman for Children's Hospital, said use of the pornographic Web site was noticed during the hospital's “sweep of computer-use records over the last few months to determine if there was attempted or successful access to restricted Internet sites.”

He continued: “We found an access to a sexually explicit site or sites that was made via a remote access code.”

Recently, three child pornography cases have involved people linked to Children's Hospital.

Wayne Albert Bleyle, 54, of Santee faces charges that he sexually abused patients while he worked as a respiratory therapist at Children's Hospital. He pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of posing or modeling minors to create child pornography, and to distributing or offering to distribute pornographic material.

Former Children's nurse Christopher Alan Irvin, 32, of City Heights has been charged with molesting patients under his care and distributing child pornography. He also has pleaded not guilty.

Last month, Dr. Jacques Lemire, formerly a kidney specialist at UCSD Medical Center and Children's Hospital, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of child pornography. Lawyers said he is expected to plead guilty at a court hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Lemire was investigated after a technician found hundreds of pictures of child pornography on a computer Lemire had brought in for repair in January 2004.