AP NEWS

Butte physician gets 10 years in prison for sexual assault

May 1, 2019

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A longtime Butte physician who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting six female patients was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended.

District Judge Kathy Seeley also ordered Patrick McGree to register as a Tier 2 sexual offender, a level that that categorizes him as at moderate risk to become a repeat offender.

Prosecutors said McGree assaulted the women in the examination room of his medical practice between January 2012 and July 2017. Three of the women said McGree had prescribed them pain medication.

McGree apologized in court for using the faith his patients had in him for his own pleasure.

Mary Cochenour, a prosecutor with the Attorney General’s office, said McGree accepted responsibility for his crimes and voluntarily checked into a sex-offense treatment program while his case was pending. But she said that did not reduce the need for further punishment.

“You cannot go abusing people in your trusted position without some kind of punishment and seeing the inside walls of the Montana State Prison,” she said.

Seeley agreed, saying McGree’s criminal activity went on for years.

When the initial charges were filed in December 2017, McGree had been a physician in Butte for 31 years and was practicing at the North American Indian Alliance clinic. The initial charges led three more women to report sexual assaults.

McGree agreed not to practice medicine shortly after the initial charges were filed. His medical license expired in March 2018, said Erin Loranger, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor and Industry.

McGree pleaded guilty in January to one count of sexual assault as part of a plea agreement.