Jurors in the 413th District Court on Thursday announced, via a note to the judge, that they had found former Cleburne doctor John Dang guilty but continued to deliberate the matter until 5:47 p.m. at which time they requested to go home for the night. Jurors will return at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning to continue deliberations after which the punishment phase of Dang’s trial will begin.
Thursday’s unusual deliberation provided yet another twist to a trial filled with odd situations.
Jurors adjourned to deliberate at 3:43 p.m. Thursday. Roughly an hour later, jurors sent a note to the judge asking whether they had to continue deliberating into the night until they reached a verdict. The judge, after consulting with attorneys from both sides, returned her answer via a note, which simply read, “No.”
Jurors at 5:16 p.m. sent the second note announcing their guilty verdict but also asked if they had to unanimously agree on which count of the charge against Dang to find him guilty on. The judge once again consulted with attorneys then returned a note that read, “Yes.”
Jurors, about 25 minutes later, sent a third note requesting to go home for the night.
Dang is on trial charged with sexual assault of a child under 17, indecency fondling.
Count one of Dang’s indictment charges him with, “intentionally or knowingly cause the penetration of the sexual organ of Sandra Brown (pseudonym), a child younger than 17 years of age, who was not the spouse of the defendant, by inserting his finger into her sexual organ,” on Sept. 28, 2006.
Count two charges Dang with touching the genitals of Brown on the same day “with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of said defendant.”
In addition to that indictment, Dang has also been indicted of charges of indecency with a child, theft of property over $300,000 and insurance fraud. Those charges will likely be dealt with in subsequent trials.
In addition to Brown, four other women testified that sexually assaulted them during medical examinations, allegations Dang took the stand to deny on Thursday.
Although he was arrested in February 2019, Dang has remained jailed in the Johnson County Jail in lieu of $1,550,000 million in bonds since that time. The length of the investigation against him and last year’s closure of jury trials because of COVID-19 delayed his trial.
Over the course of Dang’s four-day trial, one juror was excused after it was learned he had been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and, on at least two occasions, suspicions arose that audience members may have been filming court proceedings and/or witnesses entering and leaving the courthouse. Such suspicions as of now appear to be unfounded.
Johnson County District Attorney Dale Hanna earlier recused himself from the case. In his place, Fort Worth attorneys Miles Brissette and Bob Gill were appointed to investigate and prosecute the case. 413th District Judge Bill Bosworth also recused himself from the case after which District Judge Lee Gabriel was assigned to the case.
Dang’s downtown Cleburne medical clinic closed suddenly in April 2018 shortly after the Texas Medical Board temporarily suspended his medical license pending further orders. The same board, in December 2018, ordered Dang’s license suspended. His former medical building went up for sale shortly after.
Department of Labor officials seized records from Dang’s clinic in May 2007 as well as records from the clinics of several other Texas doctors. Dang’s attorney at the time, Cynthia Orr, said she did not know why Dang was being investigated and Department of Labor officials at the time did not respond to calls for comment.
Dang is also named in an unrelated, and still pending, lawsuit filed by Johnson County in 2018. That suit targets pharmaceuticals and other defendants allegedly connected to opioid abuse instances.