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Fugitive St. Petersburg doctor accused of child molestation found in Ireland

Dr. Rory P. Doyle was arrested in 2000 on charges he molested two girls. The St. Petersburg doctor had a passport and more than $1 million overseas when he was booked. Prosecutors declared him a flight risk.

They were right.

Doyle, free on $100,000 bail, disappeared just before his Nov. 6, 2001, trial. He hasn't stepped inside a Florida courtroom in seven years.

His return may be imminent.

U.S. authorities recently found the 54-year-old doctor living in Ireland. The Justice Department this week asked an Irish judge to order Doyle returned to Florida to stand trial.

Doyle, however, isn't in an Irish jail. A high court — a judge who deals with serious crimes in Ireland — allowed Doyle to post bond, according to RTÉ News, an Irish news service.

A family member put up 100,000 euros — or more than $130,000 — to free Doyle. He gave up his passport, according to news accounts, and is expected back in an Irish court later this month.

"They said they didn't think he was a flight risk," said Pinellas-Pasco Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett. "Despite our saying he was."

The extradition process won't be short, Bartlett said. But he expects the U.S. will eventually prevail and Doyle will be returned.

But the prosecutor admitted local authorities don't know how Doyle got out of the country. It's unclear if Doyle surrendered his passport when he posted bail.

Also, Doyle now goes by the name David West in Ireland, according to RTÉ News. He changed it in 2004.

Or rather, he goes by Dr. David West. He had been practicing medicine overseas until Irish authorities recently suspended his medical license.

His real name and Florida allegations weren't discovered until October 2008, according to news reports, when one of Doyle's patients complained about an inappropriate relationship with the doctor.

Doyle was cleared in December. But Irish medical authorities recently found him guilty of eight counts of professional misconduct, according to news accounts, after one of his Florida victims testified against him in Ireland. He could be stripped of his medical license.

Doyle told the high court he changed his name to get a fresh start, according to RTÉ News.

He was 45 when he was arrested in July 2000 on two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, according to records.

Pinellas authorities accused him of molesting a 13-year-old girl while she slept at his home in 1995 and then molesting an 8-year-old girl in 2000.

The identities of both victims were withheld by authorities.

Doyle told the Irish high court that he is innocent of the charges he faces here.

But Bartlett said if that were so, why did he run?

"I think he probably figured he was going to be convicted and took off," the prosecutor said. "Obviously it suggests he was responsible for what he did or he would not have fled."

Information from other news sources was used in this report. Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

Fugitive St. Petersburg doctor accused of child molestation found in Ireland 04/01/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 4, 2009 11:37am]
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