A child molester, represented in public by a charming, hardworking personality, has been charged to almost 46 years in prison. Aged 55, Wayne Albert Bleyle might be well spending the rest of his life behind bars.
The former respiratory therapist, who worked at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, pleaded guilty to molesting young, brain-damaged patients at this hospital where he worked for the last 25 years. Bleyle admitted to eight counts of forcible lewd acts upon a child and four counts of exhibiting a minor in pornography. Bleyle also admitted abusing four of his patients, including a 2-year-old girl. Two of the children have since died.
Superior Court Judge Kenneth So , denied bail and scheduled sentencing for July 25.
Bleyle was arrested in March 2006 after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents traced child porn Internet traffic to his home computer in suburban Santee. According to prosecutor Laura Gunn, Bleyle targeted children who were "the most brain-damaged, most comatose, most nonverbal children who could never say anything about it." Last year, Bleyle had confessed to federal agents that he molested "countless" disabled patients.
Prosecutors accepted the plea of guilt, in part to spare one girl, a teenage stroke victim, from testifying before a jury.
Says Gunn: "This is absolutely one of the worst child molestation situations imaginable."
Bleyle worked at the well-regarded hospital for 25 years, including 10 at the convalescent facility, and was considered by former colleagues as an engaging, hardworking therapist who volunteered for extra shifts, reassured parents and served as a mentor to new hires.
Affidavits filed in support of search warrants indicate that investigators found images on Bleyle's computer and cell phone that he had created himself using children at the hospital. His arrest prompted the hospital to ban camera phones in the convalescent unit and require that curtains around patients be left open most of the time.
The story does not end here. Barely a month after Bleyle's arrest, another hospital employee was charged with molesting a comatose toddler patient after being traced through Internet file-sharing networks. Christopher Alan Irvin, a 32-year-old nurse at the time, pleaded guilty in September and was sentenced to 14 years and eight months in prison.