Spokane physician Gregory Nail was handcuffed Tuesday and on his way to serving 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to molesting a Bonner County teenager.
Nail admitted in court to sexual abuse and sexual battery of a 16-year-old boy. He has said he is a homosexual and that the relationship was consensual.
Nail, 48, apologized to his family, the boy’s family, and patients at the Spokane medical practice that he has now closed.
“Because of my poor decisions I have made there have been some people that have suffered horribly,” Nail said as his parents and sister sat quietly behind him. “I would just like to tell the court how sorry I am.”
Nail will now be required to register as a sex offender. Judge George Reinhardt said the state of Idaho is in the process of revoking Nail’s license to practice medicine.
“A doctor, as I view it, is one of the most respected and honored positions and it gave you the opportunity to abuse this child,” the judge told Nail. “That violation (of trust) is something that deserves to be punished.”
Reinhardt said to Nail that he will now be required to reveal his conviction to the medical board of any state or country where he resides.
“You will not be able to practice medicine anywhere without them knowing your background.”
Bonner County authorities said the doctor engaged in oral and anal sex nearly every weekend with the boy for three years. The boy is now 19. He was not in court for the sentencing but his family and about 15 friends were.
Nail was originally charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct and faced life in prison. The charges were reduced to sexual abuse and battery after some evidence in the case, including sexually explicit tape-recorded telephone conversations between Nail and the boy, was tossed out.
The boy’s parents, Dave and Janou Scherb, were not completely happy with the plea agreement. Dave Scherb said he wanted to see Nail serve more jail time.
“I would rather he got a longer sentence, but we can live with it,” he said. “We just want to move on now and get on with our lives. This has drug out nearly two years.”
Nail was a family friend of the Scherbs. He owned a home near theirs on Lake Pend Oreille in Hope, Idaho.
In a letter to the court, the Scherbs expressed their disgust with Nail for violating their friendship and besmirching his profession.
“The fact this man is a doctor who was highly respected in his community, an intelligent person with many other distinguished affiliations, makes his crime even more ignominious,” they wrote.
“It is difficult to imagine how you (Nail) could carry out your deception while having almost weekly meals with us, joining in our holiday celebrations … and being … involved in our network of friends.”
Nail had a family practice in Spokane. He was a medical adviser to the city’s police pension board and doctor to many Spokane area police officers. He closed his practice several weeks ago and Washington state health officials are planning to revoke his license to practice.
As part of his sentence, Nail sent a written apology to the Scherb family and was placed on 10 years probation. He could be sentenced to five years in jail for any probation violations.
The judge ordered Nail not to have contact with any minors except under the supervision of his probation officer and to serve his jail time at the Geiger Correctional Facility in Spokane.
The doctor was also fined $5,000, ordered to undergo sexual offender counseling and pay counseling costs for the Scherb family.