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- Jul 31, 2004
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Did you guys hear about the College of Medicine faculty member (head of the school's Gene therapy laboratories) who is being charged with child molestation? His first day in court was today! Yikes! Thank God he wasn't head of the pediatrics department!
USC Scientist Arrested On Molestation Charges
W.F. Anderson Is A Gene Therapy Pioneer
Jul 30, 2004 8:21 pm US/Central
LOS ANGELES (AP) Gene therapy pioneer Dr. William French Anderson was arrested Friday on charges of sexually molesting a girl over a four-year period, authorities said.
Anderson, 67, an internationally prominent University of Southern California scientist, was arrested about 8:30 a.m. at his San Marino home one day after prosecutors filed a criminal complaint alleging six felony counts of assault, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Anderson, who was the girl's karate coach, abused her at his home from 1997 to 2001, authorities said.
He was jailed in lieu of $6 million bail. His arraignment was set for Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.
Anderson, director of the university's Gene Therapy Laboratories at the Keck School of Medicine, was placed on administrative leave Friday, USC said in a statement.
Anderson led a team the performed the first approved human gene therapy trial in 1990. A 4-year-old girl, Ashanthi DeSilva, who suffered from a disease that left her vulnerable to infection, was given white blood cells altered to include a copy of the gene that makes adenosine deaminase or ADA, the enzyme she lacked. The girl continues to do well but it is unclear whether that is due to the therapy because she also received injections of synthetic ADA.
Overall, gene therapy has had mixed results, with few clear-cut cases of success.
The six felony counts against Anderson include one count of continuous sexual abuse against a person under 14 and five counts for lewd acts with a child, Gibbons said.
If convicted on all counts, Anderson could receive up to 56 years in state prison, Gibbons said.
Authorities said the girl, now 17, was about 10 when the alleged abuse started.
Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives served search warrants Friday at Anderson's home in suburban San Marino and at his office, where authorities confiscated computers, according to USC.
San Marino police began investigating Anderson and turned over the case to county sheriff's detectives, Gibbons said.