Jurors in the 413th District Court on Monday sentenced former Cleburne doctor John Dang to 15 year in prison on a charge of sexual assault of a child under 17 indecency fondling. Jurors assessed no fine against Dang. District Judge Lee Gabriel credited Dang with 922 days served.
Dang’s attorney, Michael Heiskell, made no immediate announcement as to whether Dang will appeal the verdict. Prosecuting attorneys said it also remains to be determined whether Dang will be tried on several other charges grand jurors indicted him on.
Jurors, during the guilt/innocence phase of Dang’s trial, began deliberating Thursday but took until Friday to reach a guilty verdict. Jurors in that phase of the trial adjudged Dang guilty of count one of the two count indictment against him. That count accused Dang of “intentionally or knowingly causing the penetration of Sandra Brown (a pseudonym), a child younger than 17 years of age who was not the spouse of the defendant.”
Brown, who testified on the first day of the trial, was not present when Dang was sentenced but did send a victim impact statement to be read aloud in court.
Brown, now herself a doctor, told Dang that he disgusts her and called him a disgrace to the medical profession.
Brown spoke of the innocence Dang stole from her and how, through God and family, she’s been able to overcome and flourish despite Dang’s actions.
Brown was one of several women who testified during the guilt/innocence portion of Dang’s trial. All testified that Dang sexually assaulted them during medical exams.
Dang was arrested Feb. 21, 2019, on multiple charges including tow counts of sexual assault of a child, two of indecency with a child by sexual contact, one of theft of property over $300,000 and one of insurance fraud.
Because of the length of the investigation against him and the cancellation of jury trials through much of last year because of COVID-19 safety measures, Dang remained jailed at the Johnson County Jail in lieu of $1,550,000 in bonds from the time of his arrest until last week’s trial began. In the months leading to his trial, Dang several times requested bond reductions all of which were denied.
Johnson County District Attorney Dale Hanna recused himself from the case early on. 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 after which Gabriel was assigned to the case.
Dang’s attorneys offered an expert witness who testified that, during exams, doctors may occasionally inadvertently touch inappropriate areas of a patient, an argument that ultimately failed to sway jurors. Dang’s attorneys focused also on the escape by Dang and his family from Vietnam in 1975 as Saigon fell and the fact that Dang managed to succeed and become a doctor despite the fact that he arrived in America not knowing how to speak English. Dang’s attorneys also accused prosecutors of painting Hanna, former Cleburne Police Chief Terry Powell and fellow doctors at Dang’s former medical clinic as complicit in helping Dang escape justice.
On Friday, as the sentencing portion of Dang’s trial began, prosecutors called two women who testified that Dang, during his time as a doctor in Deer Park and later in Cleburne, was also inappropriate with them during medical exams.
Fort Worth Police Sgt. William Cloud said that Dang assaulted him on Aug. 3, 2003, in downtown Fort Worth. The incident occurred as Cloud and others were attempting to break up a fight involving Dang and others.
Cloud said he was less than pleased that Dang only received two years deferred adjudication on the lesser charge of resisting arrest for that incident.
Prosecutors on Monday called Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Andrew Cooper who testified of responding to a 2018 burglary call to Dang’s former house of Park Road 21. Cooper described the house as a “very large dwelling well off the road, gated and not visible from the road.”
Jurors watched body cam footage of Cooper going through the home while talking to Dang. On that video, Cooper several times can be heard telling Dang that the burglary as described appears to make no sense.
Mark Bertrand, an investigator for Chubb Insurance, testified that he was sent to investigate the matter and meet with Dang and his former wife after Dang, along with his claim, submitted a 56-page report listing more than $115,000 worth of property allegedly stolen by parties unknown.
Inconsistencies between Dang and his former wife’s interviews among other red flags led to Dang admitting that he still had some of the property at a girlfriend’s home and him withdrawing his claim. In researching the matter beforehand, Bertrand said he learned that Dang also had IRS liens of more than $500,000 at the time.
Dang’s oldest daughter was the sole witness called by Heiskell during the punishment phase. She asked jurors to give her father probation because she and her younger sister need him.
Dang’s downtown medical clinic shuttered suddenly in April 2018 shortly after the Texas Medical Board temporarily, and later permanently, suspended his medical license.
Dang is also named in an unrelated, and still pending, lawsuit filed by Johnson County ins 2018. That suit targets pharmaceuticals and other defendants in connection with opioid abuse instances.