Psychiatrist accused of booby traps still has job

ASHLAND, Ore. — A psychiatrist for Jackson County in Southern Oregon still has his job while awaiting disposition of criminal charges alleging he set booby traps to hurt mountain bikers on national forest trails around Ashland.

County Administrator Danny Jordan told the Medford Mail Tribune that the county considers Jackson Tyler Dempsey innocent until proven guilty, and none of the alleged crimes happened while Dempsey was at work. Jordan added that Dempsey remains a licensed psychiatrist.

“He’s afforded due process,” Jordan said.

Dempsey was accused of stringing nylon cords and throwing out nails and other obstacles on trails shared by hikers and mountain bikers around Ashland. The charges are assault and reckless endangerment.

His lawyer, Carl Kaplan, had no comment.

Dempsey is to appear in court Oct. 29 to decide whether he wants to go to trial.

Some local mountain bikers were surprised to hear Dempsey was a psychiatrist.

“You would think a psychiatrist would be able to control his actions,” said Rob Cain, president of the Ashland Woodland and Trails Association. “I think this guy was clearly delusional in his thinking. The irony is cruel.”

Dempsey was arrested July 22 after some mountain bikers saw someone on a trail where small trees had been thrown across the path. The cyclists called in a description to the U.S. Forest Service.

“I think all of us, regardless of the type of user, recognized the potential severity of this,” Cain said. “He could have easily created a quadriplegic, in the most severe case.”

Jordan said the charges do not prevent Dempsey from doing his job.

“If he’s able to perform the duties of his job, and he’s able to be licensed, those are the job requirements,” Jordan said.

If Dempsey is convicted, the Oregon Medical Board would do its own investigation, said board investigator Dave Lilly.

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