Sentencing date set for Eichler

Dr. Marc Eichler

A change of plea and sentencing hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 25 in U.S. District Court in Bismarck for former Minot neurosurgeon Dr. Marc Eichler, who is facing federal child sex crime charges

According to court documents, Eichler will agree to plead guilty to one count of production of child pornography. The federal prosecutor will recommend a sentence at the low end of the possible 2 1/2 years to 10 year sentence for the charge, along with five years of supervised release. Eichler would also be required to register as a sex offender.

The federal prosecutor notes that an upward adjustment in the recommended sentence is justified due to a pattern of abuse and because Eichler used a computer to commit the offense. A downward adjustment in the recommended sentence is justified because Eichler is accepting responsibility for the crime.

A pre-sentence investigation has been ordered.

The maximum penalty Eichler could have faced for the charge would be 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to lifetime supervised probation.

Under the plea deal, other counts in the indictment would be dismissed. Eichler was indicted June 1, 2016, on two counts of production of materials depicting the sexual exploitation of minors; two counts of attempted production of materials depicting the sexual exploitation of minors; one count of receipt of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors; one count of attempted receipt of materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors and one count of transfer of obscene materials to minors.

Eichler is accused of exchanging sexually explicit texts and photos with two area girls in 2015 when they were 12 and 13. Eichler also allegedly provided the first girl with alcohol and tobacco and a smart phone and other gifts and also paid for hotel rooms in different locations for her and her friends as an incentive for her not to talk about the alleged sex abuse.

Eichler was initially charged in district court in Minot with Class AA gross sexual imposition for allegedly sexually assaulting one of the girls when she was babysitting at his residence and with two counts of Class B felony luring a minor by computer for allegedly texting lewd messages and photos to the young girls. All the state court charges were dismissed once the federal charges were filed.

Eichler was formerly a neurosurgeon at Trinity Hospital in Minot. Trinity ended its connection with him after Eichler was charged. The North Dakota Board of Medicine has suspended his license to practice indefinitely, citing unprofessional conduct.

– Andrea Johnson

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