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BOUNTIFUL — A Bountiful doctor has been arrested in an investigation involving child pornography.
Nathan Clark Ward, 55, of Bountiful, was booked into the Davis County Jail Wednesday for investigation of seven counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He was arrested by the Davis County Sheriff's Office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Ward was able to post bail and was released at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff's office. His bail was set at $100,000, which meant he had to post 10 percent, or $10,000. Investigators had asked that Ward be held without bail, noting that due to his "high net worth" he should be considered a flight risk.
A redacted probable cause booking report obtained Thursday says the sheriff's office is investigating online conversations in which Ward allegedly discusses raping young girls, ages 13 and 15, and "describes desires to rape females and minors."
The investigation into Ward began in November of 2016 when possible sexually exploitive images of children were detected being uploaded at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful.
Over the course of the eight-month investigation, an email address that was created in 2002 in Idaho was linked to Ward, the report states. The "friends" linked to that address include names "associated with sexual meanings," according to the report. In addition, IP addresses associated with that account include Lakeview Hospital, IHC Hospital (possibly LDS Hospital), St. Mark's Hospital and Ward's home, according to the report.
From those locations, authorities found seven images of children being sexually exploited that were uploaded through that account, the report states. Other images uploaded included "voyeuristic pictures of underage females."
Investigators also found the email account allegedly associated with Ward "engaged in several conversations online by instant messenger and email as well as Craigslist ads. The conversations are explicit in nature," deputies wrote.
"The suspect discloses that he has raped a 15-year-old who was drunk on vodka, after her father 'set it up.' The suspect also states he raped a 13-year-old," according to messages from August of 2016, the report states.
No criminal charges have been filed against Ward.
Ward was not an employee of Lakeview Hospital but contracted with the hospital to do his work out of that facility. Davis County Sheriff's Sgt. DeAnn Servey said Ward was arrested at his office.
The hospital issued a brief statement Thursday saying Ward had been suspended from the facility and staff was focusing their efforts on helping his patients.
The Davis County Sheriff's Office is the lead agency in the investigation with assistance from the task force. The report said there is a "signficant amount" of other chats and emails that investigators need to review.
According to the hospital's website, Ward specialized in obstetrics and gynaecology. Ward's bio was removed from the website Thursday.
On several websites, including Webmd.com, it states that Ward graduated from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Hebert School of Medicine in 1992 and is affiliated with several hospitals throughout the Wasatch Front, including LDS Hospital. Ward has been in practice for more than 25 years.
On social media, many of his patients reacted as news of the popular doctor's arrest spread.
"Ugh — he's been my doctor for years and supposed to deliver my newest baby in 2 months," a woman posted on Facebook.
"He's been my doctor for years too. I really liked him. Such disturbing news," wrote another woman.
While many on social media expressed disbelief over the arrest, many also defended Ward.