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Fugitive doctor accused of child molestation a dozen years ago is captured in Morocco

In the fall of 2001, Dr. Rory P. Doyle slipped out of the country a day before he was supposed to face a jury on charges that he molested two local children.

The St. Petersburg physician surfaced years later in Ireland, and, in 2010, a judge there ordered him to return to Florida.

Doyle bailed out of jail, appealed and somehow got a passport to attend a family wedding in England last year.

It wasn't exactly a surprise when he didn't show up for court.

On Wednesday, Pinellas County prosecutors got a call saying Doyle had surfaced again — this time in Morocco.

The 57-year-old was arrested there this week.

"Now we try to get him back — again," said prosecutor Jim Hellickson, who is handling the case for the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office.

Doyle could spend up to 65 years in prison if he is convicted of all the charges against him — two counts of fondling, one count of lewd and lascivious behavior and one count of failing to appear for court.

Of course, authorities have to get him here first.

Hellickson said Wednesday that he was "cautiously optimistic" that would happen.

• • •

Doyle changed his name to David West in 2004, according to Irish news accounts.

He didn't switch careers, however.

And in 2008, one of his patients complained about an inappropriate relationship, ultimately leading authorities to discover the allegations from Florida.

In the case here, he is accused of molesting two young girls: a 13-year-old in 1995 and an 8-year-old in 2000. When he was booked into jail, he had a passport and more than $1 million overseas.

Prosecutors feared he would run. He was given bail anyway. And a day before the Nov. 6, 2001, trial, he left the country.

• • •

The United States pursued extradition after Doyle surfaced in Ireland. And in January 2010, a judge there said he should be surrendered to Florida.

But Doyle got out of jail again, this time after his mother put up more than $100,000 bail. And in December 2011, he was given his passport back so he could spend time with family in England, according to the Irish Times.

The doctor never returned for an appellate hearing in Ireland that was to happen at the beginning of 2012.

"We were very surprised he was able to get a passport to go over to England," Hellickson said. "My understanding is he has financial assets. He could probably go wherever he wanted to."

Hellickson didn't have details about his arrest this week.

"I was surprised at Morocco," he said. "I thought maybe he'd go to another European country. … I really had no idea though."

• • •

Hellickson's office has spent the past 48 hours compiling paperwork for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., which will coordinate with Moroccan authorities.

A court there will have to agree to extradite Doyle. If that happens, prosecutors are ready to take him to trial.

"The witnesses are ready to go," Hellickson said. "We'd get him tried as soon as he gets back here."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Fugitive doctor accused of child molestation a dozen years ago is captured in Morocco 11/29/12 [Last modified: Thursday, November 29, 2012 10:35pm]
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