California Doctor Admits Stealing Artifacts From National Parks

“Our ancestors have lived in Death Valley since before written time.  The Timbisha people identify ourselves by our art, our being, our obligation to take care of the lands and to continue our traditions and customs. The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe is very distressed about the actions of this doctor, who took it upon himself to destroy a large prehistoric site here in Death Valley National Park, the homelands of the Timbisha Shoshone.  Our ancestors left their messages here, for their future familes and the general public to enjoy and cherish.  When theft occurs, it not only hurts the Tribe, but everybody.” (Barbara Durham, historic preservation officer, Timbisha Shoshone Tribe)

Dr Jonathan C Bourne 2

Doctor Jonathan C Bourne pictured committing a crime (photo by Bob Burd)

Bourne, a 59-year-old anesthesiologist who lives in Mammoth Lakes, formally entered a guilty plea on August 15, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert. 

 

Investigators revealed that Bourne had been stealing artifacts since 1994. He was ordered to return an estimated 20,000 archaeological pieces.

According to the court record, in January 2011,  Bourne damaged a specific prehistoric site in Death Valley National Park and removed a native American tool carved from a bighorn sheep horn, as well as ancient stone tablets, which were found in his home.

Death Valley is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe. The tribe has had a strong impact on the history, culture, and ecology there, in partnership with the National Park Service.

“It feels great to have a conviction in this major case!” Death Valley Superintendent Mike Reynolds. 

Bad-boy Bourne could get 2 years in prison and a $400,000 fine, in addition to the $250,000 he has already paid. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 7 in U.S. District Court. He is banned from all national parks.

(The successful prosecution of this case – as well as the return of the artifacts to their respective parks – is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service,  the Bureau of Land Management and  the National Park Service.) 

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7 thoughts on “California Doctor Admits Stealing Artifacts From National Parks

  1. Ron Slade, Pharm.D. says:

    Am ass hole in a white coat is still an ass hole.

  2. Vic Nicholls says:

    Now this is a new low. Seriously … {{SMH}}

    and his medical license? Has any one told the Cali SMB?

    • Vic –

      We’ll bet our paycheck against his, that not only will the State Medical Board NOT act in this case, Bad Boy Bourne won’t even be suspended – let alone fired – by Mammoth Hospital.

      Because when it comes to medical miscreants, well, as far as authorities are concerned, boys will be boys.

      • Vic Nicholls says:

        Just submitted the following complaint to the Cal. State Medical Board.

        Please see https://medicalmiscreants.com/2016/08/19/california-doctor-admits-stealing-artifacts-from-national-parks/comment-page-1/#comment-54893

        where Jonathan Bourne, has the below active license. Is this consistent with the Cal. State Medical Boards’ view on ethics?

        License Number: 48548 Current Date: 08/22/2016 07:19 AM
        Name: BOURNE, JONATHAN CORNELIUS
        License Type: Physician and Surgeon G
        License Status: License Renewed & Current
        Expiration Date: 07/31/2018
        School Name: CA012 – LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
        Date of Graduation: 01/01/1981
        Original Issuance Date: 08/09/1982

        Last September a Federal Grand Jury, Eastern District of California in Fresno, determined there was more than enough evidence to indict the doctor, so they charged him with 21 violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. And so Doctor Jonathan C. Bourne entered a “guilty” plea this week in a federal court to charges of Damaging, Unauthorized Excavation, Removal and Transport, of archaeological items. Had his case gone to trial, a jury may well have locked him away for years.

        Bourne, a 59-year-old anesthesiologist who lives in Mammoth Lakes, formally entered a guilty plea on August 15, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert.

        Investigators revealed that Bourne had been stealing artifacts since 1994. He was ordered to return an estimated 20,000 archaeological pieces.

        According to the court record, in January 2011, Bourne damaged a specific prehistoric site in Death Valley National Park and removed a native American tool carved from a bighorn sheep horn, as well as ancient stone tablets, which were found in his home.

      • Thank you for doing that, Vic.

        Lord knows, healthcare authorities are loathe to take any serious action whatsoever, against their lab coat criminals, unless they are forced to by outside pressure. Even then, its hit or miss discipline.

      • Vic Nicholls says:

        Well they do have to respond to me. At least we will know.

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