California surgeon charged with sex abuse found dead after apparent suicide

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A California surgeon who served on his local school board was found dead Tuesday, just days before his scheduled court appearance related to sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl. His lawyer has called it a suicide.

Dr. Andrew Bourne “was found ‘unresponsive’ in the Hot Creek fish hatchery area near his Mammoth Lakes home,” writes the Los Angeles Times. He was charged on Jan. 4 with with eight counts of contacting a child for sex.

The cause of death hasn’t been determined, but Mono County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jennifer Hansen said in a news release that there is no suspicion of foul play.

According to the Santa Barbara News-Press, Bourne had reportedly discussed suicide after his arrest.

Bourne, 46, served on Mammoth Lakes’ school board until he resigned following his arrest along with 48-year-old businessman Joseph Walker. The two were said to have had an extensive relationship with the girl, visiting her over 100 times in two years near where Bourne lived with his wife and two children.

Bourne was released on $750,000 bail and wore a GPS tracking device, which was used to locate his body.

His attorney, Ron Bamieh, speculated that “these charges led to his suicide. The charge of this crime is so life-altering. Dr. Bourne could not deal with the fact that everyone assumed he was guilty.”

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