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Other Possible Molest Victims of Psychiatrist Are Being Sought

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Newport Beach police are looking for other possible victims of an 80-year-old psychiatrist who, along with a notorious pedophile who was his roommate, is suspected of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old patient.

“As far as we know, there are no other victims,” Police Lt. Andy Gonis said. “But we are continuing to work on this case, and doing everything we can to try to locate any possible victims. We’ve conducted numerous interviews already, and will continue to do so as needed.”

Dr. Burnell Gordon Forgey of Irvine was arrested Monday at the Golden Creek Inn, an assisted-living complex for senior citizens in Irvine’s Woodbridge neighborhood. Investigators said they found evidence that he and James Lee Crummel, a convicted child molester also suspected of killing a Costa Mesa boy, lured the teenager to their Newport Beach condominium and molested him, Gonis said.

According to court documents filed by the Orange County district attorney’s office, Forgey is suspected of having oral sex with the teenager under his care while Crummel allegedly sodomized and orally copulated the boy. Forgey and Crummel are charged with 16 counts of sexual violations.

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“I cannot tell you how many times the victim was molested, but I can tell you that it happened between December of 1994 to May 1995 at the [Newport Beach’s] Ima Loa condominium,” Gonis said.

Neighbors in Forgey’s Newport Crest neighborhood were outraged last spring when police exercising Megan’s Law notified them that a child molester was living with Forgey. Crummel, 54, has been convicted in four states of sex crimes dating back to the 1960s, one involving a girl and the rest boys, all between the ages of 9 and 14. He also was convicted of murdering a 9-year-old Arizona boy, but the case was overturned and Crummel later pleaded guilty to kidnapping.

Crummel is now in custody awaiting trial in San Bernardino County, where he faces charges of molesting three teenagers 10 years ago. Riverside County authorities also have charged him with the murder of James Trotter, a 13-year-old Costa Mesa boy whose charred corpse was found by Crummel off the Ortega Highway several years ago. The youth had disappeared while on his way to school in 1979.

Both Crummel and Forgey, whose son and daughter-in-law own the condominium, were evicted under pressure from the community last year.

In February, Forgey lost his license after the Medical Board of California determined that he had been “grossly negligent” in allowing Crummel to have unsupervised contact with his patients when the two visited group homes for troubled teenagers.

Forgey and Crummel apparently met sometime between 1975 and 1980, when Crummel went to the doctor for psychiatric help, according to court documents filed by the state’s medical board. In 1990, Forgey hired Crummel as an assistant.

Before Crummel moved in with him, Forgey had hired two other registered sex offenders to work for him, both of whom also lived with him, police said.

Police and social workers with the Orange County Child and Family Services department began an investigation after they received information that Crummel may have accompanied Forgey on visits to New Alternative Homes in Orange and Costa Mesa and been allowed unsupervised contact with the boys, authorities said.

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Investigators combed through hundreds of cases to find youths who might have been treated by Forgey, police said.

“The kids that may have been involved are young adults now,” Michael Riley, director of family services, said, “so we’ve had to do a nationwide search to try to find the kids and interview them to see if they were involved in such a capacity as this.”

Of all the people contacted, only one is suspected of being a victim, police said. However, authorities couldn’t find all of the people on their list and hope potential victims speak up.

At the time, the 16-year-old was living at the New Alternatives Home on Victoria Place in Costa Mesa. Forgey treated about 45 teenagers there for about three years before administrators dropped him in 1995 because they didn’t “agree with some of the decisions he made in regard to medication,” said Tim Farley, assistant executive director at the home. “Also, he didn’t relate well with the kids.”

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Farley said he did not know the identity of the 16-year-old. However, he said, it was unlikely that the youth left New Alternatives with Forgey. It is more likely, he said, that arrangements were made to meet the boy on a day he was released from school or work, and out of the immediate control of home supervisors.

“Any child that leaves the facility would have to have permission from a social worker, and it would have to be approved by us,” Farley said. “Any decision like that has to be approved by the court or the social worker.”

Administrators at New Alternatives said they had received no complaints about Forgey involving improper behavior and did not know at the time that his assistant was a convicted child molester.

Forgey is to be arraigned today in Municipal Court in Newport Beach.

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