Doctor poses as a teenager to tell high school cheerleaders he saw them “bend over.”

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On Friday, in a classic tale of middle-aged men positions of power exploit their access to minors to satisfy their perversionsa California doctor was sentenced to six months in prison for sending “sexually motivated” messages to two underage high school cheerleaders.

David Lee Haller, a 55-year-old family doctor in Southern California, was accused of sending DMs of a sexual nature to two then-15-year-old students at Newport Harbor High fake accounts in late 2017, according to to The Merkur News. As a volunteer for the UC Irvine Spirit Cheerleading team and a physician who worked on several Newport Harbor High School events, Haller had regular access to the girls’ practices and performances. Although he pleaded not guilty, he did admit that he volunteered at school football games just so he could watch the cheerleading team Los Angeles Times reports.

Haller, pretending to be a middle school cheerleader, contacted the first teen on Instagram under a fake name, asking about their high school cheer costumes and if boys ever looked up their skirts, according to prosecutors. After the teenager blocked the account, Haller allegedly used a Snapchat account still posing as a teenager to ask if he could donate her money and implied he was watching her. Haller again used Snapchat to tell the second teammate that he saw her at a game, describing her exact position in the cheering formation, adding that he saw her bend over and felt guilty watching her. According to their families, the girls were “appalled” by the news and felt haunted.

In addition to a prison sentence, Haller was sentenced to a year of formal probation and ordered to register as a sex offender after being convicted of two counts of child molestation. He is also said to lose his license to practice medicine.

“This is about as serious as it gets as far as misdemeanor is concerned in terms of the impact it had on the victims,” ​​Judge M. Marc Kelly said in the courtroom on the day of the sentencing: according to to the Los Angeles Times.

In the courtroom on Friday, both teens told the judge they still struggle with post-traumatic stress, paranoia, depression, anxiety and other long-term fears, especially considering Haller remained employed as a doctor during his trial.

“I’m constantly afraid that someone will take care of me,” the teenager, referred to as “Mary,” told the court over the phone. “I was and still am looking over my shoulder.”

The other victim, “Katie T.”, reportedly attended the hearing with her parents, boyfriend and other supporters Times.

“Honestly, I’m still scared of going outside by myself,” Katie said from a podium about two meters behind Haller. “I’ve also felt so betrayed because for the last five years he’s been free to roam and essentially carry on as he wanted.”

Prior to his sentencing on Friday, Haller had denied or attempted to justify his actions — even after a school resource officer was able to link the social media accounts to Haller. He told prosecutors his messages were not intended as “a threat or harassment.” He just enjoyed watching cheerleaders because they “looked” like 18-year-olds, and “he looks at them even though he knows he shouldn’t!” On Friday, however, Haller didn’t deny that he took to Instagram as a 14-year-old Edison High student claimed he asked his victims if other students looked up their skirts or created new social media accounts to message the girls after they blocked him.

Haller’s inappropriate behavior wasn’t limited to Newport Harbor High. In 2019, prosecutors discovered that Haller had traveled to Orlando, Florida. for a college cheer contest and had contacted a Cal State Long Beach student using the methods described in the Harbor High case. And another college cheerleader told UC Irvine that, according to a case report online, she was sexually assaulted by a man who also approached her personally checked by the Times. “I’m so sorry if I made you uncomfortable. If there is any way I can make amends, like paying a fine or issuing a penalty, please tell me and I will do it. I feel guilty because I took the pictures and used them to masturbate many times,” one of the messages said. Authorities later determined that the man was Haller.

This was announced by Haller’s lawyer Times that Haller has been in therapy since his arrest in hopes of “overcoming his urges.”

“Over the years I’ve tried to seek forgiveness,” Haller said in court on Friday. “Unfortunately, I can’t speak to you directly, so all I can do is ask God and my family to forgive me. …I can promise you that you will never hear from me again.”

I don’t have to tell you why an authority figure abusing her closeness with teenage girls is a problem – we all know it’s a systemic one, and an obvious one at that. Doctor poses as a teenager to tell high school cheerleaders he saw them “bend over.”

Adam Bradshaw

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