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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane doctor charged with child rape

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 22, 2014

Stevens County sheriff's detectives spent Wednesday searching the Suncrest home of Dr. Craig Morgenstern who has been accused of rape of a child in the second degree. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman_revew)
Stevens County sheriff's detectives spent Wednesday searching the Suncrest home of Dr. Craig Morgenstern who has been accused of rape of a child in the second degree. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman_revew)
Dr. Craig Morgenstern, an emergency room doctor at the Spokane VA Medical Center, was arrested Monday and charged in Stevens County with child rape. Morgenstern was charged in Stevens County because the alleged rape took place at his home in Nine Mile Falls. He was released on a $100,000 bond Tuesday. A 13-year old boy claims Morgenstern, 45, gave him hot chocolate at his house and that he started feeling sleepy. When he woke up, he told police, Morgenstern was performing oral sex on him. The boy said he pretended to be asleep but told investigators he could see cameras and believed Morgenstern took pictures of him. After the boy pretended to wake up, he fled from the house while Morgenstern was in the bathroom and ran to a neighbor’s for help at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, according to court documents. When police arrived Morgenstern reportedly approached an officer and said he was looking for a boy missing from his home. He denied that anything inappropriate had taken place, according to court documents. Morgenstern reportedly told police he was a friend of the boy’s family and the boy was staying the night and watching movies with Morgenstern. Morgenstern reportedly allowed officers inside his house to look around. They found numerous stand-up arcade games and video game consoles, plus thousands of DVD movies and storage bins full of toys. Morgenstern is single and lives alone, said Stevens County Sheriff Kendle Allen. “It had the appearance of someone who was grooming children,” Allen said. Officers also could see several electronic devices, a thumb drive, several memory cards and cases of recordable DVD’s, according to court documents. Allen said the boy was examined at Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, where his urine tested positive for benzodiazepine, which is a sedative. When police arrived at Morgenstern’s house later that day to arrest him, he was gone, Allen said. Detectives served a search warrant on the home Sunday and discovered that the memory cards, flash drives and various electronic items were missing, as was the bedding the boy was laying on when the alleged molestation occurred, according to court documents. An external computer hard drive is also believed to be missing and the home had been extensively cleaned. Detectives found eight boxes full of hundreds of pictures of shirtless young boys, Allen said. The Sheriff’s Office is urging anyone who knows of young boys befriended by Morgenstern to call their office at (509) 684-5296 or (509) 684-2555. “We believe there are more victims out there,” Allen said. Morgenstern photographed several children’s events for the Spokane YMCA, but had no direct contact with children through that organization, said Steve Tammaro, CEO of the YMCA of the Inland Northwest. Those photos were used on the YMCA’s website and blogs, Tammaro said. Morgenstern photographed a YMCA basketball event at the Spokane Valley Mall as recently as last summer, the CEO said. The YMCA never heard any complaints about Morgenstern, Tammaro said. The investigation is ongoing and Allen said other search warrants were being served today. Morgenstern has no previous criminal history, Allen said. He works at the Spokane VA hospital as a doctor of osteopathic medicine. He has been licensed to practice medicine in Washington since 2008.
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