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Bike trails

Oregon psychiatrist booby trapped bike trails to purposely injure riders

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: bike trails, sabotage, psychiatrist

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(NaturalNews) An Oregon psychiatrist who deliberately sabotaged mountain biking trails near his home in Ashland has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and is now prohibited from using National Forest trails for at least two years, according to new reports. In an ironic role reversal, 57-year-old Jackson Tyler Dempsey pleaded guilty to committing the types of bizarre acts one would expect from his former mental patients, which included running nylon ropes across biking trails for the purpose of harming mountain bikers, and leaving nails and other forest debris on bike paths.

Last July, Dempsey was reportedly observed lingering around the bike trails in the Ashland watershed without a bicycle, which prompted some riders to contact the Forest Service. Dempsey was later caught by an arresting officer who confirmed that the psychiatrist was in possession of the very same nylon cord material that had been found strategically placed along the trail on numerous instances. After being caught, Dempsey fessed up to sabotaging trails on at least five different occasions in both June and July, and was consequently arrested.

As reported by MailTribune.com back in September, Dempsey was charged at the time with fourth-degree assault and three counts of reckless endangerment for his actions, which reportedly injured at least three mountain bikers and put many others in danger. During his recent trial in Jackson County Circuit Court in Medford, Dempsey apologized to both the bikers and his family for planting the injurious obstacles, but did not opine on any sort of motive as to why he did it.

"I apologize to each of you," Dempsey is quoted as saying by DailyTidings.com. "I was obligated to be trustworthy and consistent, and I didn't live up to that. I am very sorrowful that I let (everyone) down."

Former coworker publicly defends Dempsey's character, urges mercy

According to Deputy District Attorney Alisa Ray, however, Dempsey admittedly did not appreciate the downhill mountain bikers who obstructed his walks with his dog, and this is the most likely reason why he decided to booby trap the biking trails. And since the time that he was arrested, Dempsey reportedly no longer works as a psychiatrist for Jackson County.

"You would think a psychiatrist would be able to control his actions," said Rob Cain, President of the Ashland Woodland and Trails Association, about the case, as quoted by BendBulletin.com. "I think this guy was clearly delusional in his thinking. The irony is cruel."

As reported by the Associated Press (AP), a key component of Dempsey's plea agreement was his concurrence to stay away from National Forest trails for the two years that he is on probation. This will give local mountain bikers more peace of mind about using the trails safely. Dempsey now has until May 20 to report to jail for his month-long sentence, and he will also have to pay a $2,450 restitution for his actions.

"He is steady, caring, knowledgeable, honest and open minded," wrote Dr. Jim Shames, Medical Director for Jackson County's Department of Health and Human Services, in Dempsey's defense. Dr. Shames reportedly worked alongside Dempsey for more than 30 years. "(Dempsey) has helped thousands of patients in our community over the years ... He does not need to be broken any further."

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