SAN RAFAEL — A well-known Santa Rosa surgeon charged with the attempted molestation of a 13-year-old Marin County girl had his medical license suspended Monday until his criminal prosecution is resolved.
Raymond Severt, 53, faced a judge for the first time Monday as a representative for the California Attorney General notified the court the orthopedic surgeon would not be permitted to practice medicine while the case is pending.
Severt, a hand specialist on leave from Santa Rosa Orthopaedics, has been charged with four criminal counts alleging attempted sexual misconduct with a Novato girl he met online.
Police say he sent sexually explicit text messages to the girl and arranged to meet her on a residential street corner for a sexual liaison Feb. 11.
But her mother saw the texts and notified authorities. Severt was met by police, who promptly arrested him.
His defense attorney, Stephen Turer, said the girl had led the married doctor to believe she was of legal age and only confessed to being under age 18 when he was driving to meet her. He said they met through an online dating site whose rules require users to be 18 or over, and the girl initially said she was older than 21.
Turer said his client hadn't met the girl, so when she finally said she was under-age he wasn't sure how old she might be and proceeded to the rendezvous to find out.
Severt has been charged with four felony counts including attempted lewd acts with a child under age 14 and arranging a meeting for the purpose of committing lewd acts with a child.
If convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of 4 years and 8 months in prison, Marin County Chief Deputy District Attorney Barry Borden said. He also would lose his medical license permanently and would have to register as a sex offender for life.
Severt was accompanied only by his legal team when he came to court Monday and displayed little consternation when confronted by two press photographers in the hallway outside the courtroom.
In court, he delayed entering a plea until his attorney has reviewed all the evidence in the case. He is to return to court on April 10.
Severt's lack of certainty about the various ages the girl had provided is significant, Turer said, because his conviction hinges on whether he intended inappropriate conduct with a child he knew was under 14.
But family members of the alleged victim said the texts leave no question that Severt knew the girl was under-age.
An aunt who attended Monday's hearing with the girl's mother said the content of the messages "would make you want to throw up."
She said the evidence "would speak for itself. The evidence is black and white."
The District Attorney's Office served Severt with a protective order in court prohibiting him from contacting the girl or coming within 100 yards of her.
The girl's mother said afterward that she was not aware of any efforts he might have made to contact her daughter. She said she has gotten rid of both of their phones.