A Spokane doctor accused of sexually abusing a Bonner County teenager last year paid the boy and his family $100,000 to keep the case out of court.
Details of the settlement between Dr. Greg Nail, 47, and a Hope, Idaho, family were unsealed this week.
David and Janou Scherb filed a civil lawsuit last February on behalf of their son, now 18.
The Scherbs claimed Nail engaged in sex with their son between 1987 and 1991. The case was settled before it went to trial, and Nail’s attorneys asked that the complaint and settlement be sealed.
This week 1st District Court Judge James Michaud ordered the file opened at the request of The Spokesman-Review.
In the complaint, Nail denied the Scherbs’ accusations but agreed to pay the couple $50,000. Another $50,000 was put into an education trust fund for the teenager, according to court records.
“This settlement is the compromise of a doubtful and disputed claim,” the agreement said, noting the payment was not an admission of guilt.
“The case is being settled because of a concern by Dr. Nail that the public disclosure of the … allegations will significantly affect his professional practice,” the three-page agreement said.
Since the settlement, Nail has been charged criminally with two counts of lewd conduct. The charges were filed several months ago by the Bonner County prosecutor.
Nail has denied the charges. He has said he was trying to help the boy, who was struggling emotionally with being homosexual.
Nail’s attorney, Glen Walker, said last year’s settlement was a financial decision, not an attempt to cover up any alleged wrongdoing.
“Just imagine how much that kind of publicity could hurt a prominent medical practice,” Walker said. “Charges like this, whether they are true or not, can destroy a person and can cost a prominent physician far more than the amount he settled for.
“As it stands now, it was money thrown away because we are ending up having a trial anyway.”
The settlement was sealed not to protect the doctor but to protect the identity of the teenager, Judge Michaud said. The teenager was a minor when the complaint was settled.
“Since his identity has already been revealed in the criminal case, there is no longer any justification for keeping the file closed,” he said.
Walker said the teenager signed an affidavit before any criminal charges were filed that said the allegations against Nail were untrue.
“It (the statement by Scherb) admits the lad is gay, but that Dr. Nail was a friend who tried to help him. It says he had absolutely no sexual contact with Dr. Nail whatsoever,” the attorney said.
The affidavit is not in the court file, but authorities have said they know about it. Detectives also said they have copies of recorded telephone conversations between Nail and the teenager in which they talk about having had sex together.
Walker said he has no idea why criminal charges are being pursued, since a prior settlement was reached and the teenager signed a statement exonerating Nail.
“It could be greed, I don’t know,” Walker said.
Before any accusations surfaced, Nail and the Scherbs were close friends. Nail has a summer home in Hope, near the Scherbs’ home.
Nail is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the lewd conduct charges March 24.