Psychiatrist enters pleas in bike trail sabotage case

A psychiatrist suspected of setting booby traps on biking and hiking trails outside Ashland pleaded guilty today to charges of fourth-degree assault and recklessly endangering another.

Jackson Tyler Dempsey pleaded guilty to the assault charge stemming from an incident on July 22, 2012, and a recklessly-endangering charge related to a July 11, 2012, incident. He pleaded no contest to another charge of recklessly endangering another in an incident on June 27, 2012.

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail on each charge, but the sentences will run concurrently. He has until May 20 to report to jail. He also must pay $2,450 restitution and stay off the trail system for two years while he is on bench probation.

Authorities say he strung nylon cords across trails and threw nails and small trees in the path.

In Jackson County Circuit Court today, Dempsey apologized to the victims, his colleagues at Jackson County Mental Health, and his family.

He said his acts were extremely thoughtless, unethical and violated his oath as a physician and his own personal values.

Dempsey was a psychiatrist for Jackson County when he was arrested last July. He hasn't worked for the county since October 2012, but officials wouldn't say if he had resigned or been fired at that time.

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