Former Casper Doctor Faces 12 Sexual Assault Charges
A former Casper doctor has been charged with 12 counts of sexually assaulting six local women, according to a criminal warrant filed by the Natrona County District Attorney's Office.
Paul Michael Harnetty, 46, was arrested in in Minnesota on Jan. 20, and will return to Casper to face the charges, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.
He is charged with nine counts of second-degree sexual assault, and three counts of third-degree sexual assault. If convicted on all counts he could face between 18 and 225 years of imprisonment.
In a separate criminal matter, the Natrona County District Attorney's Office charged Harnetty with unlawfully possessing the synthetic steroid Nandrolone, a Schedule III controlled substance.
The Wyoming Board of Medicine issued Harnetty his license on April 12, 2012. Harnetty was an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Wyoming Medical Center and the Community Health Centers of Central Wyoming.
Meanwhile, the Wyoming Board of Medicine received complaints about him and opened an investigation on Feb. 26, 2016.
In the previous year, while on call, he was drinking and pounding on a neighbor's door with a baseball bat on Feb. 5-6, 2015, and was jailed for public intoxication. The Wyoming Medical Center suspended his privileges and placed him on medical leave to get treatment for alcohol abuse, but failed to tell his obstetrics patients he would not be able to meet with them during that time. The WMC initially reinstated his privileges but later declined to do so. He also quit practicing at the Community Health Centers.
Harnetty voluntarily offered to relinquish his license on Sept. 28, and apparently had moved to Minnesota from Casper some time before that. The board accepted Harnetty's offer on Oct. 7.
The sexual assault case took a long time to investigate.
It started on Oct. 1, 2015, when a now retired Casper Police detective received a report of three women who claimed Harnetty conducted himself inappropriately in during their verbal and physical examinations.
Over the next year, three more women reported such conduct, based on the different initials of the women cited in the affidavits filed in September and the charging documents filed on Jan. 13.
Some of the alleged victims came forward after seeing posts on local social media, according to the heavily redacted court documents.
Interviewees described their experiences as being uncomfortable, scared, and "freaked me out."
Some patients said he would ask about their sexual behavior. He asked about having three-way sex with some, and he had an affair with one. He paid one woman for sex.
Some said Harnetty often smelled of alcoholic beverages and he didn't wear gloves during examinations.
Many told investigators they would never go back to Harnetty.
He harassed and threatened one patient and her husband, and police told the couple to contact authorities if it continued.
At the end of one interview, one victim said, she "'wouldn't trust (Harnetty) with a rat's life, he was the worst doctor I've ever experienced in my entire life.'"