Bourne, Walker, free on $750,000 bail in child sex case, Bourne resigns from school board

Bail was reduced from $1 million each to $750,000 each for Dr. Andrew Bourne and Joe Walker Tuesday at a hearing in Santa Barbara.

Bourne, a member of the Mammoth Unified School District school board, announced his resignation from the school board this morning (Jan. 13), according to the district's superintendent, Rich Boccia. Bourne's resignation came in the form of an email to Boccia Friday morning and Bourne did not attend last night's (Jan. 12) school board meeting, Boccia said.
 
Bourne and Walker were arrested Jan. 4 in Mammoth on suspicion of child sex related crimes, according to Santa Barbara Police Department Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte.
 
The two men posted bail on Wednesday and were released on bail (with certain conditions, see below), according to a spokesperson at the Santa Barbara County Jail.
 
Bourne, a surgeon at Mammoth Hospital and a board member of the Mammoth Unified School District, was arrested and booked for eight counts of illegal communication with a minor to facilitate sexual activity. 
 
Walker, a former business owner in Mammoth Lakes and the son of longtime Mammoth residents Sam and Shelley Walker, was arrested and booked on six counts of illegal communication with a minor to facilitate sexual activity and one count of sexual intercourse with a minor.
 
Police said the arrests were preceded by a months-long investigation that started September 2011, when “suspicious emails” sent to a 14-year-old girl were discovered by the girl’s parent(s) and reported to the police.
 
Duarte said officers recovered more than 1,000 emails which were used to obtain the arrest and search warrants. The two men were arrested “without incident” in Mammoth on Jan. 4 at about 10:45 a.m, he said.
 
The girl is now 15. 
 
Bourne and Walker appeared at the Santa Barbara Superior Court on Jan. 10 wearing orange prison jumpsuits.
 
A preliminary hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 25, according to the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office. 
 
Other court appearances may precede the preliminary hearing.
 
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mary Barron, who is prosecuting the case, said the county had argued that bail not be reduced, but she declined to say for what reasons. 
 
“After an hour-long hearing with input from the prosecution and both defense attorneys on behalf of their clients, as well as declarations submitted to the court, bail was reduced from $1 million to $750,000,” she said in an email to the Mammoth Times. “The bail unit recommended the bail remain at $1 million. That is all I can say.”
 
Santa Barbara media reports earlier this week indicated there was some concern by the county that one or both of the men were a “flight risk” because of their international connections, among other reasons. The Mammoth Times could not independently confirm this statement. 
 
Both men are well travelled and speak more than one language.
 
The media reports also indicated the court hearing showed the relationship with the minor had been going on for “about two years.” 
 
Again, the Mammoth Times could not independently confirm this before press time.
 
Local law enforcement officials have referred all media questions to Santa Barbara. 
 
When asked why Santa Barbara was the focus for legal actions related to the case, Barron said, “Penal Code 784.7 provides for this in certain sex cases so that a victim does not have to go through two trials on related charges in separate jurisdictions.
 
“The case is under ongoing investigation. If other charges are determined they will be filed.”
 
Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Dan Watson said last week that the MLPD and Mono County are cooperating with Santa Barbara in the ongoing investigation. Local law enforcement officials also said that it is possible, should it be determined that some of the alleged crimes occurred in Mono County, that Mono County could get more deeply involved in the case.
 
The situation has rocked the town of Mammoth Lakes, where both men are well known. Bourne is a respected surgeon and has led several groups of medical providers to provide free medical services to rural areas over the course of his time in Mammoth. Both men are accomplished athletes, they are known to be good friends, and both have many friends and relatives within Mammoth Lakes and Mono County.
 
The absence of Bourne (one of Mammoth Hospital’s primary surgeons) has left a gap. Hospital CEO Gary Boyd said the hospital has been working hard to fill the vacancy.
 
For the past week, coverage has been provided by Northern Inyo Hospital, he said. Beginning today (Jan. 13) and at least through March 1, a more long-term solution is in place, he said in an email released Wednesday.
 
“We have been working on general surgery coverage for the past week and Mammoth Hospital has call and clinic coverage starting Friday evening, Jan. 13 through March 1. Key individuals providing coverage are Bryan Fandrich, M.D., and Marc Sedwitz, M.D., two long-term physicians who have provided coverage at Mammoth Hospital. 
 
“As the situation evolves with Dr. Andrew Bourne, we will continue to provide scheduling of providers for general surgery, clinic, and call coverage and, if necessary, provide permanent staffing.
 
 “I realize that this is a difficult time for everyone,” Boyd continued, “but we are committed to providing high quality health care to our patients and community, including general surgery. In addition, I would like to thank Northern Inyo Hospital for providing surgical back up to our hospital these past few days.”
 
“As the situation evolves with Dr. Andrew Bourne, we will continue to provide scheduling of providers for general surgery, clinic, and call coverage and, if necessary, provide permanent staffing.
 
 
Bail conditions (Barron said the conditions “were the same” for both men):
 
•Avoid all contact with witnesses and or victim
•Be subject to electronic monitoring if bail amount is less that $1 million
•Not leave Mammoth Lakes except without prior court approval
•No contact with non-related minors; avoid Santa Barbara County except for court appearances
•Cannot depart California without permission of the court

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