FARMINGTON — A disgraced Bountiful doctor could spend the remainder of his life behind bars, a district judge ruled Tuesday afternoon.
Nathan Clark Ward, 57, was sentenced to 15 years in a Utah state prison after pleading guilty in January to one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, a first-degree felony.
The sentence will add to the prison time Ward has already been ordered to serve in connection with federal child porn charges. He pleaded guilty last March to one count of sexual exploitation of children, and was sentenced to serve over 21 years in prison.
2nd District Judge Thomas Kay ordered Tuesday that Ward’s sentence on the state charges will run consecutively with the federal prison time; meaning once he’s done serving time for the federal charges, his state prison sentence will begin.
Kay said during the hearing that Ward could be released from prison when he’s in his 90s, but his official release date will be up to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.
He was first arrested on July 19, 2017, following an eight-month investigation by the Internet Crimes Against Children task force. In his state charges, Ward was accused of having sexual contact with at least one minor female on several occasions between 2012 and 2015, according to a probable cause statement.
After posting bail, Ward was again booked into the Davis County Jail on Aug. 4, 2017, in connection with the additional state charges. Ward was indicted federally a month later on Sept. 13, 2017.
The federal charges filed against Ward allege that he coerced a minor to “engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct,” charging documents say. Ward knowingly sent the content across state lines “by using any means, including the internet,” the court records state.
Ward admitted in his guilty plea to federal charges that he used a smartphone to “stream several live videos” from his Bountiful home to a man in Lehi between June 2013 and August 2015.
Ward was in a special position of trust with the victim. It is the Standard-Examiner’s policy not to publish information that could identify juvenile victims of a crime.
During the Tuesday hearing, the victim and her family members were present in court and gave statements.
A sister of the victim told the court that she was shocked to find out that someone she looked up to could commit such terrible acts. She said that she believes in mercy and forgiveness, but there was no way she could forgive Ward in this life.
“You better believe we’re better off without you,” she said.
The victim’s mother then addressed the room, and said it had been 601 days since Ward’s arrest, when she learned of the sexual abuse he inflicted upon the girl.
“You didn’t just hurt me, you changed me,” she said. “You are not the hero doctor people believed you to be, you are a broken man.”
Finally, the victim told the court that she thought this day would never come. She said she was 13 when the abuse began, and never thought a person like Ward would become the villain in her story.
“The day you were arrested was the day I knew it was finally over,” she said. “I hope the life you chose was worth it.”
Ward declined to address the court before he was sentenced to prison.
Deputy Davis County Attorney Nathan Lyon said the girl was afraid to tell her mom about the abuse, and said the damage Ward caused to the family has been “heartbreaking.”
Lyon said that prosecutors were prepared to go to trial, where they would have introduced messages sent by Ward detailing the abuse. Lyon called the messages the “tip of the iceberg,” and reveal that Ward had fantasized about the girl for years.
Just before sentencing, Kay said that when he started his judicial career over 20 years ago, he would likely see a sex crime on his calendar from time-to-time. Today, he said he has about 10-15 sex crimes on his felony calendar. Kay blamed pornography as the main culprit for this rise, and said that Ward is an example of pornography leading to sex crimes.
Ward was an OB-GYN who had been practicing for more than 25 years. He was suspended from Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful after his first arrest.
As of Tuesday, Ward was in the custody of the Davis County Jail. He will be transferred to a Utah prison to begin his sentence.