A Santa Rosa physician was arrested Monday on suspicion of trying to molest a 13-year-old girl he met through an online chat room, Novato police officials said.

Raymond Severt, 53, had been sending the girl sexually explicit messages and arranged to meet her at a Novato intersection, Lt. Jennifer Welch said.

Severt drove to Novato on Monday to meet at the arranged spot near South Novato Boulevard and Gateway Court, just off Highway 101, Welch said.

Police had been notified about the meeting and intercepted Severt, arresting him at 6:14 p.m., Welch said.

Severt is listed as an orthopedic surgeon with Santa Rosa Orthopaedics' Montgomery Drive practice. He graduated from the University of California Los Angeles school of medicine in 1986, according to the California medical licensing board.

Severt was booked at the Marin County Jail on suspicion of attempted lewd and lascivious acts, contacting a minor with intent to commit a sexual offense and attempting to annoy or molest a child under 18, officials said.

He was released from custody on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in Marin County Superior Court on March 4.

A phone call to his Santa Rosa home was not immediately returned.

Welch declined to say how police were alerted to the meeting and how long Severt had allegedly been courting the girl.

Investigators will continue to research Severt's background, she said.

"We'll be exploring all options for our investigation," Welch said.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com.