- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A general surgeon from South Dakota who works in North Dakota is accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in Oregon for two years starting in 2009.

Robert J. Gustafson, 46, on Monday pleaded not guilty in Oregon’s Clatsop County to 12 counts related to the alleged abuse, The Daily Astorian reported (http://bit.ly/1f0urBG ). It was not immediately clear where Gustafson was working at the time.

The indictment says the abuse started when the girl was not yet 14 years old.

Defense attorney Paul Hood said Gustafson plans to post the required 10 percent of his $250,000 bail and return to the West River Regional Medical Center in the North Dakota town of Hettinger.

“I contacted the health center today; they are holding his job for him,” Hood said. “He is the only surgeon at the facility.”

The Associated Press requested comment from the hospital on Gustafson’s status.

Gustafson is required to have no contact with children, unless it’s necessary in his work, as a condition of his release.

Gustafson grew up in Brookings, South Dakota, and obtained his medical degree from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. He previously practiced in Spearfish. His biography on the hospital’s website says he served in the U.S. Army for nine years including five years on active duty in Iraq, during which he received several medals including the Bronze Star.

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