“In a Town This Size”

Dec 01

(No kid music content here.)

I lived in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, until I was 12 and we moved to Minnesota.  Bartlesville was an oil town, the worldwide headquarters of Phillips Petroleum (for which my dad was a research scientist).  It was a relatively well-off town, with strong schools (my dad was on the school board, in fact) and a stronger cultural core than you might expect for an Oklahoma town of 35,000.  It even boasts the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed skyscraper, the Price Tower, and hosts the annual OK Mozart festival (which was launched while we were living there).  It was a good place to grow up.

Like most families who moved to Bartlesville, my parents asked around about the best pediatrician when they got there from Arkansas, and received the consensus advice that the doctor to see was Dr. Bill Dougherty, Jr., who was a young and skilled pediatrician, respected in the community.

And, it turns out, Dr. Dougherty engaged in the consistent sexual abuse of children, patients and otherwise.

I first heard a bit about it maybe five or ten years ago (or perhaps even earlier); at that time, what I heard was that his abuse was solely of kids in a scout troop. It turns out, unsurprisingly, that it was far more extensive.

A new film, In a Town This Size, tells his story and, heartbreakingly, the story of his victims.  I watched the movie (made by one of his victims, Patrick Brown) this morning, and it was chilling.

Neither my siblings nor I were among Dougherty’s victims; my mom never left us in the examination room with him alone.

But it was striking — and rather intense — to see people my own age, people I easily may have been in school with or played on soccer teams with, discussing the abuse.  One talked about the visual that haunted him from his visits, that of one of those cat clocks with the eyes that go back and forth, and it made me remember that same clock in what must have been the same examination room (a room that, like all of Dougherty’s, had doorknobs too high for a child to reach).  The victim speaks of focusing on that clock during the abuse.  To a person, the victims in the film — and there are quite a number who shared their stories — have stories about how intensely Dougherty’s abuse affected their relationships, their professions, their families — their lives.

The film also includes an interview with a person, probably mid-70s, who was close friends with Dougherty and whose kids all went to him as their doctor.  In one of the toughest parts of the movie to watch, he describes his growing realization that this friend of his — a person he trusted entirely — had abused and stolen the childhood of at least three of his six children.  He later discusses his struggles from within his faith to consider forgiving Dougherty.  (The filmmaker speaks frankly about how low on his list of priorities “forgiving Bill Dougherty” is.  I can’t argue with him.)

Sometime in the ’80s, Dougherty’s crimes became slightly known and he retired from medicine.  The local paper published a story about “a local pediatrician” — not naming him — and his victims.  Due to the statute of limitations in Oklahoma, and the lack of recent victims speaking at the time, he was never criminally charged, and evidently still lives in Bartlesville, only leaving at night, in disguise.

The movie was obviously of particular interest to me because of the personal connection.  But it’s also a good reminder that pedophiles don’t come with name tags or signage, and that part of our job as parents is to be aware of everyone who’s around our kids.  That doesn’t mean assuming everyone is wicked, but it does mean being cognizant, speaking with our kids, and listening to our kids.  I am so grateful to my parents for doing that (and that doesn’t mean for a second that I’m blaming victims’ parents, or the victims themselves, for abuse).  I hope we’re doing the same.


  1. Bill,

    I am the director of In A Town This Size and I would like to respond to your writing.

    I hear from people 5-6 times each month about the abuse they suffered during their childhoods. The majority of those who were victimized knew their abuser very well and the abuser was most generally well respected as was Bill Dougherty.

    Thank you for reminding people that its not a wise approach to assume everyone is wicked. The primary message I would like to reinforce is for parents to explain in age-appropriate terms what is appropriate touch and what is not. Also parents need to really listen to their children, observe their behavior and create an environment where the child knows he/she can talk about concerns or worries.

    Its not simple, there is no easy answer here but its something and that open communication is the most powerful means to keeping children safe.

    If your audience is so moved – I would like to suggest they research their states’ statutes of limitations in regard to child sexual abuse. Also contacting legislators to discuss those statutes and where they need to change, another helpful act is to volunteer at clinics that deal with abuse issues. By making financial donations to your local non-profit organizations that advocate specifically with child sexual abuse victims everyone can make a positive difference.

    Too often I hear from former patients of Bill’s that were abused – its a relief to know you were not abused.

    For those readers who are interested in viewing the DVD.
    They can be purchased at: http://www.inatownthissize.com

    10% of the DVD sales go to non-profit child advocacy organization(s) in Bartlesville. Thank you.

    • I am not sure anyone will see this message. However, i feel i must make my story available. I grew up in a town in Oklahoma about the sane size. I remember well thw pediatrician office i went to when I was ill or needed vaccinations etc. I remember I was never left alone in the exam room. My mother or my aunt were always there. However I also recall one visit in particular. This clinic had several doctors at the time and i cannot recall the name of this particular Dr. I do remember his face. I remember what he was wearing. I remember how strange I felt when he was rubbing something hard inside his plaid pants against my knee as he examined me without my shirt on. I was around seven or eight and quite naive. It was many years before I realized what had happened was wrong and inappropriate. I still have issues today. Issues with trust. Issues with anxiety and panic attacks when i need to see a doctor for any reason. Issues with my personal relationships. I have spoken about it once or twice but i feel as though no one believes me anyway.

    • Christian /

      Hey Patrick,

      I just watched and was very moved by your film. I’m sure you’re aware of this, but found it online after viewing….William H. Dougherty died December 30th, 2017. I wish you and all his victims peace and hope that your film was cathartic for all involved.

    • Tommie /

      It wasn’t only Bill.

      It’s a whole entity of perverts with power, per sey…lol.

      They’ve damaged so many of us from Bville, and they prey on children with internal issues. Daddy issues, confidence issues, things the ‘backbone’ of the Wesleyan church slid under cover.

      Chaos will decide who ultimately reaps what they have sown.

      I pray that some of these individuals found peace within themselves so they cannot damage another soul.

      I’m still bleeding it out.

    • Douglas Branch /

      Just wanted to point out that this Predator was put in a position of trust and was tasked with giving every young boy in the area playing YMCA football their physicals…remember what that entails…cough cough cough..our parents presented us to the predator and he just picked and chosed whom he would abuse..#METOO..and another sibling. He was a monster with a stethoscope.

  2. Celeste Barrett /

    Thank you for your thought-provoking blog. Just to set the record straight: Dr. Dougherty no longer lives in Bartlesville.

  3. Thanks for the clarification.

  4. Kim Keaton /

    I never went to this doctor although I grew up in the same town. My parents never allowed us to visit our doctors alone. The one exception was a trip to the dentist when I was 15 and he started working on a tooth before the nova wine had deadened the tooth. When I told him to stop he told my to quit being such a baby. I kicked him in the crotch, yanked off the bib, and walked out the door. Mom had ran to the bank and pulled up to park the car when I walked up to the car. I told her what had happened and she marched into his office asked him if he was ok then unloaded on him in front of a waiting room full of patients. We went home and mom told dad and my dad hit the ceiling he was really mad at the doc but didn’t call him. We switched dentists. My son never goes alone to any doctor or event w/o our participation.

  5. Kim Keaton /

    Parents…remember this…you are your child’s strongest advocate even when they are adults. You trust NO ONE completely with the welfare of your child EVER!!! If you cannot do this then you are lost and your child will get hurt.

    I was notorious at our child’s school. If you were his teacher be prepared because if I ask you a question you better be prepared to answer and it better make sense. My child’s not a perfect angel but I know him very well and know when I’m hearing the truth and know when I’m hearing crap.

  6. Chris Van Noy /

    I grew up in Bartlesville and was a patient of this Dr. when I was a child. I don’t recall ever being abused by him. But this scares the hell out of me when I think of my own child. Thank you to the director for making this film

  7. Bonnie Mitchell-Hurwitz /

    This doctor, Dr. Wm Doughterty was the doctor of my five children for many years.
    I have no complaint, he was a fine doctor and supplied us with medical care
    through some rough years. He has never been tried in a court of law. The entire
    episode is a sorry one for Bartlesville and worst of all, it has tried a man without adequate
    evidence, something our country is not supposed to do. Bonnie Mitchell-Hurwitz

    • The Daughter /

      Finicky you and your ignorance, burn in hell with him

  8. admin /

    Ms. Mitchell-Hurwitz,

    Thanks for the note. As I posted in my initial post, Dr. Dougherty was my pediatrician (and that of my siblings) and none of us recall any problems.

    But you are confusing the standard for state action. The point of the film is that, in fact, Dr. Dougherty cannot be tried, due to the statute of limitations. He has not been tried in a court of law not because of a lack of evidence, but because a statute precludes it. (Maybe for good reasons, maybe for bad reasons, but for reasons unrelated to his guilt or innocence.).

    The film presents adequate evidence for me to conclude — not as a state actor, but as just me — that he more than likely committed sexual abuse. He declined to provide any counter to that evidence, as I understand it.

    If you’ve seen the film and reached a different conclusion, that’s fine. But its existence is not in conflict with anything in our country’s values; to the contrary, it stands in a tradition of journalism raising important political and legal issues.

    My best,
    Bill Childs

  9. Kerry Brownridge /

    Bonnie Mitchell-Hurwitz

    Just because it did not happen to your children does not mean it did not happen. Such ignorance scares me.

  10. irene dominguez /

    Thank you for this. I just saw the documentary. I was molested by an uncle and kept it quiet for many years. There was to much shame. I couldn’t let anyone know because I felt so dirty. Now as an adult it is still affecting me. I still have vivid memories. It is such a shame that dr dougherty didn’t have to stand trial.

  11. Kate S. /

    I just watched the documentary “In a Town This Size”, and I would like to express my gratitude to the director for producing such a brave movie.I know the topic is difficult to tackle, but we must discuss such things to protect the innocent. I would also like to thank all the survivors who agreed to participate in the film. Thank you for coming forward!

    I am a survivor of sexual abuse. I could relate so well to the stories of the survivors, especially being afraid to tell my father, not having the right vocabulary to tell or get help, the anger as a child, the self-destructive choices, the pain and anguish, and thinking I was inherently bad and worthless.

    I would also like to remind parents that talking with their children about good and bad touches and what to do if it happens is paramount. Listen to your children and take what they say to you seriously. It is better to err on the side of caution.

  12. Denise Hodge /

    I just watched the documentary “In a Town this Size”. My thoughts and prayers go out to every single victim of this monster.

  13. Bonnie that’s great that you say your children weren’t molested by this predator. But to sit and then defend him is pretty sad. The traits of the victims and the subsequent behavior of Dr. Dougherty is quite compelling evidence he is not innocent of these crimes. The description of the victims of what he did and how he pulled it off are all classic predator behaviors. There are plenty of Doctors who are sexual predators.

    If anyone is ever a victim of doctor abuse report it to the police and medical board. A quick internet search and you’ll see that it’s more common than people know.

  14. Maria /

    Thank you to everyone who made this film. My son is a victim of sexual abuse and I lived with guilt not being able to protect him. I’m happy that many can rise above this violation but many others go thru a destroyed life. And yes murdered my sons soul.

    Thank you thank you

  15. J. Nagoo /

    Thanks for writing about this in your blog. I happened to watch this out of the many child abuse documentaries on Netflix. I had to do a google search on the doctor because I wanted to know if anything had been done since the documentary – which lead me to your blog.

    My fiancee was molested by her cousin when she was a small child. She was brave enough to go straight to her parents after the fact although not knowing if what happened to her was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. To cut this long story short, her parents, from an Asian background decided to sweep it under the rug, not press charges, and pretend like it never happened.

    Yes, parents like this exist. Even her cousins who had witnessed her approach her family didn’t care either. Ironically, by the time I met her, she had subsequently done the same – swept the whole ordeal under the rug. It was by chance that I was able to get her to speak up about her past.

    Fast forward a few years, she decides to approach her cousins on why they didn’t take her side on things. Ironically, while everything had been under the radar for 20 years, the molester-cousin and his family had been doing damage control and feeding lies to the entire extended family; labeling my fiancee as a liar.

    What I realized from this ordeal and also from watching the documentary is that the best way to help someone who’s been abused is to listen and give them a voice. Hopefully, with a strong support net, the victim will eventually seek help to amend the damage that had be wrought.

    Empathy is timeless.

  16. Janice Pena /

    The ramifications of childhood (sexual) abuse are profound and traumatic, anyone who trivializes or makes “light” of the fact that “just cause it didn’t happen to them or any family members doesn’t deserve or has earned a platform/forum. Enough said!

  17. Stephen Holland /

    My wife and I saw this documentary last night and, being a child who experienced physical and sexual abuse by the age of six, even though it could have been much worse, was something I could so relate and identify with.

    My own struggles of abusing alcohol, drugs, and sex to escape, make me feel better, and to mask the low self-esteem I had as result of my experiences. The self-destructive behavior, pushing away emotional intimacy, and sabotaging relationships was all a part, not entirely, of being molested as a child.

    Being a sex addict, I am a member of SA b/c even though I know the right thing to do, I can’t do it alone… I don’t want to either, and so I need group support to hold me accountable for my actions.

    Only by coming into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ have I come to realize these truths so I can begin to heal and recover.

  18. disgusted mom /

    Just saw your movie, Patrick. You are excellent for exposing the pedophile. I can’t clearly articulate how frustrating it is to watch how ball-less the men of that town are! Since when is it ok to let your children be raped and then, forgive the man so you can get into heaven? Who hears the cries of those children in that hell? So let’s watch the parents cry…This country is too soft on this issue. That doctor is a beast, 666, for all those religious types and should be destroyed. I vote the death penalty for pedophiles. Don’t be afraid to fight back instead of being complacent. They’re allowed to live among us!!!!

  19. Michael Packard /

    I’m 50 years old now. It’s still hard to talk about even now. But, I have to. I was Dr. Bill’s boy for the longest time. My Mom moved from Bartlesville to get away from the physically abusive stepfather. It happened many times. He would always take care of us (my brother and I) and never charged mom. He would give us so many gifts and lessons. I’ve had a hard life since. Haven’t ever laid roots. I’m still trying to heal from his years of abuse.

  20. Andrew /

    I recently watched this documentary, as a victim myself, I found the commentary and interviews very interesting, and contributed to my continuous quest to come to terms with my own situation.

  21. Laura /

    What ever happened to this “man”? I hope he got what he deserved.

    • Betty Santoro /

      At the end of movie. It says he got married at 81 years old . He never renewed his medical license never went to jail because of the statute in Oklahoma.

  22. Dianne Cottom /

    I live in Tulsa. I am a mother of 2 children and I have 4 young Grandchildren! Fuck the statue of limitations! I want to kill that man myself!

  23. Susan /

    I just saw your documentary this morning. I must say, it brought up plenty of issues for me! The first brush with molestation was very mild. As a little girl of 6 or 7, I had gone to a Saturday matinee with my best friend. An adult sat next to me, put his coat in his lap and mine. (Talk about stereotypes!!) The next thing I knew, I felt an odd sensation in my crotch; I realized his hands were where they should not be. My friend’s mom freaked when we told her. She wanted to call the police, but first she called my mother and told her. My mother just insisted we put the entire incident out of our minds. (My dad was a prominent conservative and what would people think???)

    But then… I was sexually abused by a male relative beginning at the age of about 11; it went on for a decade. I spent a lot of time with them as a child so it was going on constantly. I didn’t know what to think of it since my upbringing about sex was very repressive. My mother never talked to me about puberty. One day I found a 1950’s era pamphlet on my bed and that was that. I learned where babies come from straight from my peers.

    I’m a lesbian; plenty of people improperly conflate sexual abuse with homosexuality. However, I knew I was very “different” from other kids at the age of 4 when I fell in love with my (same sex) teacher. I decided I was going to ask her to “wait for me” – that is, not get any older – so I could marry her. My mom had a cow when I told her. She shamed me so that I’ll never forget that “talk”. It taught me two lessons: 1.keep dark secrets WELL hidden & 2. trusting ANYONE is a huge mistake. These are two of the worst lessons for a young child to learn, leaving me ripe for the picking should a child molester come along. And come along he did, when I was not quite 10.

    I still carry so much of the remnants of that abuse with me. When Brandy’s sister and mother said he sabotaged his relationships and achievements, they were describing me. (I can’t even begin to list the many ways I’ve undone the things I’ve worked hard to earn). I was a star academically; I earned scholarships that others would dream of. But then I’d decline to take advantage of them convinced I’d fail but also feeling guilty that others worked so hard but I got awards with little effort. It was far better for me to fail on my own terms than allow someone else to decide I didn’t make the grade. I’m middle aged now and i have nothing but regrets.

    So many dreams simply ended the day this all started; that was the day I learned to hate who I was. I was headed for medical school since being an MD was all I’d wanted since I was old enough to know my own name. Other little girls dreamed of having a big wedding, I dreamed of a medical practice somewhere doctors were most needed. In first grade, the teacher asked everyone what they wanted to be when they grew up. This was the 60’s, little girls gave one of two answers: wife and mommy OR teacher. I was the only girl who answered I wanted to be a doctor; all the kids laughed bc, back then, everyone knew that ONLY boys became doctors. I gave up on that dream, too, convinced I’d never make it.

    I’ve never learned how to negotiate relationships because I learned very young that trusting anyone was a mistake . When the last relationship fell apart more than a decade ago, I simply stopped trying.

    For many years, I kept my mouth shut about the abuse. Partly bc denial blocked me from thinking or feeling about it. (Although I told my best friend in college). I think there was suspicion on my parents’ part. I’m trained as a lawyer, anytime any of immediate family had a legal problem, they’d call me for free legal advice.

    However, when my perpetrator was accused of molesting another child they took great pains to keep me from hearing about it. I’d taken the geographic cure as soon as I got out of college. It was the only way for me to stop it from happening again since I lacked the self esteem to say no. (Even today, I still have a lousy self esteem. I can’t even decide what flavor to have when someone takes me out for ice cream). I didn’t find out he’d done this to another child until I was nearly FORTY.

    When I did hear about it, I was enraged, I could understand him doing that to someone like me, but it wasn’t OK for him to cause that kind of pain for another kid. I also blamed myself, since my silence had left the perpetrator free molest him. It was after I found he’d done it to someone else that I finally told my parents. My family dismissed the boy’s accusation as a lie, his mother they labeled “crackpot” for believing him. (Had I only known, I could have/would have corroborated his accusation).

    Of course, my family neither believed nor supported me, accusing me of seeking attention or trying to set them against one another. (I guess it’s odd that it annoyed me that they made this about THEM).

    As a result of my accusation, they stopped communicating with me altogether. (They already considered me a “sicko” for being a lesbian). Accusing me of fabricating this only compounded the damage. One of my siblings said that even IF my accusation were true, I could not blame my “problems” on the abuse. In her mind, I was a loser plain and simple, not because of the abuse as a child.

    I even purchased books and had them sent to them so they could educated themselves, but they were returned unopened. Sorry to interject this – but my experience with people like my relatives – far right conservatives – is that they see the world as black and white and they believe what they want to. All gay people are sick & immoral. My molester is a “good” conservative man. Why would they believe a lesbian – homosexuals are immoral and in league with Satan!

    If I can just reach one of parent… I’d implore you NOT to do this to your child. If I could open ONE mind, perhaps some of my pain has been worth it. I’ve been through therapy, I’ve done all of the things I’m supposed to do, but this ache never goes away.

  24. Susan,

    I am so sorry to hear what you have been through. I am sorry this has affected your life so profoundly and so negatively. I hate that your family has betrayed you and your trust by choosing to not believe you. You deserve way better treatment than that.

    I was molested/abused as a child and this film explained so much for me. I typed out the quotes that touched me deeply, and want to post them here:

    “You depend on adults as a child to guide you through life and teach what is right and wrong. When an adult authority figure betrays that trust in a profound way, it is difficult to regain trust for others even in your adult years.”

    “We are not set up to handle sexual energies and overstimultation as children, even though our bodies respond to the stimulation. When you are abused, the abuser is flooding you with their shame while overstimulating you sexually, and you take on that shame as if it is your own.”

    “When you’ve got this kind of history, you end up having this sense that there is something wrong with you at a deep deep level. How do you deal with something that’s overwhelming to you but it is not yours, but really feels like it is and has everything to do with you?”

    “Under the best of circumstances, learning what it means to value ourselves and respect ourselves and affirm ourselves in the world, (outside of sexual abuse) under the best of circumstances, that is a very difficult journey. So you add this to it and that’s why the journey is overwhelming.”

    These statements were such aha moments for me. They fill in some pieces to my puzzle.

    Thank you for making this film, Patrick. So hard, and yet to healing for me to watch.

  25. Just saw the documentary. I live in OK, not too far from Bartlesville. I am originally from TX. I was molested by one of my brothers, many times. It is hard to type and hard to think about. I am 6 years younger than he is. One of the victims in the film that was in shadow said that he wasn’t mad and didn’t feel bad about it, especially toward the perp. I relate, as I do not hate my brother and never have, which I have always felt was a really weird reaction. I do feel great shame, have had 4 marriages, drug abuse, etc., but never blamed him. He has lead a very awful life on the streets as a street person and I wonder if he, too, was himself abused. Its all so complicated and I just want to say thank you to the brave film maker in making this doc because it has opened some very repressed areas in my mind that I feel I am finally able and willing to deal with. Godspeed to all in their own quests for …..

  26. Guy B /

    I spent my childhood in Bartlesville and I remember having one exam by Dr. Daughtery. I was having a physical before going to summer camp. I was 12 and just beginning puberty. I remember the doctor turned off the lights and took an unusually long time to exam my genitals, fondling them extensively. I remember at the time feeling uncomfortable about it and I have never had an exam like that from a doctor since. While the film “In a Town This Size” confirms something that I always suspected it also gives rise to the troubling notion that Dr. Daughtery abused boys who went on to abuse other boys. I was sexually abused by other boys in Bartlesville who very well may have learned this behavior from him. It is a vicious circle that spirals on and one that I am still working on getting over.

  27. cindyingram@charter.net /

    Thank you so much for your work in exposing a sick person passing who is causing mental anguish/illness in his daily life. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’ve had some of the same issues after being “groomed” at 13 but never molested until I was 14 or 15. I can’t imagine. The predator who hurt me was “Head of Christian Atheletes”. The school learned he was up to something and – get this – made him moves TO ANOTHER MIDDLE SCHOOL fifty miles away. I’ve always felt horrible because I had so much trouble afterwards despite my being older and not an adolescent. I hope for you to be content and thank you again.

  28. Melanie /

    I too was abused as a child. I was abused by my father. No one believed me except for others that have suffered abuse by family members and had repressed memories.

    I have had to fight to have a reasonably normal life. I will likely die alone. My one and only marriage lasted 2 years.

    My heart breaks for the people that were molested by this man. Please dont ever elevate someone because of position or education. All too often people do this because it makes things more simple for them. Parents care enough to really listen to your children. If you arent absolutely certain you can do that, please dont have children.

  29. Timothy /

    Thank you, Patrick, for the excellent film. This is the first time I have really been able to relate to the stories of other victims of sexual abuse. My abuse at the age of eight (or was it nine or seven?) led to decades of low self esteem, drug abuse, obesity and risky sexual behavior. I am still trying to overcome it.

  30. Libby /

    Such a sad story, especially when you consider that there was talk, which went ignored by parents who claim “ignorance”. Statute of limitations should not apply to pedophiles. If the law fails children, all our futures are put into jeopardy.

  31. A nna /

    I just finished watching the film. Kudos to all involved in its making. I was emotionally abused my entire childhood by a covert narcissist and can relate much of the victim’s struggles to my own even though I wasn’t sexually assaulted. This film has power to connect people’s present to their past and bring them into a community where they can be heard and through that hopefully discover a sense of belonging and worthiness. We didn’t deserve to have shame projected onto us. My plan is to learn what are and then establish healthy boundaries (I married an abusive narcissist of course) and heal. To the woman who responded by trying to shame those who made the film as well as the victims, I say it is exactly that approach that keeps men like the “fine” doctor doing what they do. Shame keeps us in the dark. It was my mother who abused me- how comfortable do you think people are when I share my story? When I tell that my mom asked if my dad “visited” my bedroom early mornings? How that one question forever destroyed a chance for a healthy father daughter relationship because the implication in my mind was I was sending him signals. Most people believe that mothers are kindly and had my best interest when she asked. In my case it was a set up to became my moms best friend – which I became to prove my loyalty to her He died 14 years later and we had an awful relationship because I was co-opted by her to be mean to him, he was none the wiser to the horrible things she said about him to me. He was a good man, a very good man. She is evil but if you were to meet her you would think her charming and delightful- the antithesis of abusive parent. Funny thing is I worry that even as I type this that readers will label me as a problem
    child turned adult with problems and discount my message. There’s no deeper wound than feeling unworthy, it leads to desperation for acceptance and approval which I will counter by posting this anyway. I am so moved that the people in the film found the courage to speak out. I hope it helped with your and your family’s healing. It is helping my own. Thank you mr post author for providing a space to speak, I know I needed to let breath out…I’ve been holding it too long.

  32. what kind of planet is this??..abusing children should never happen but it is so prevalent…and probably since time began…i cant imagine how children in other countries suffer…there are no words…

  33. Jennifer Jones /

    Thank you for having the courage to make this film. I am still struggling at age 60 to come to terms with sexual molestation as a little girl. I cannot remember much of my childhood, which I assume is my mind’s way of protecting me from things which would crush my soul. I had three failed marriages to men who were overly sexual, and I’m afraid that never having a stable life has negatively influenced my adult children.

    The statute of limitations for any sexual crimes should be abolished in every state and country. The damage never truly heals so there should be no limit on prosecuting these soul-killing criminals.

  34. when i was 4 and 6 /

    a man made me parade naked in front of him after a bath when i was 4. babysitter?

    my biggest molester died recently and i had a huge gaping sadness come up that surprised me….. it wasn’t over his death but over the fact that his “I’m sorry” died with him.

  35. Molly /

    I accidentally found this article while researching if my old pediatrician from bville had a website. I also grew up in bartlesville, and last year at age 24 moved to Minnesota (ironic, when I read the authors into). I haven’t watched the film yet, but will definitely see it. My parents and grandparents grew up in bartlesville, and they all still live there. It seems tragic to me that I am just now hearing about this, especially with so much on social media these days. Thanks for the post.


  36. I watched your doc and just sat down for a second time to watch it with my mother after telling her the story. Well done exposing this man. I have no ties to this and have never been molested though throughout and especially towards the end when you pound on his door it really made me feel deep pain and anger.

    This man shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy his life after taking so many. He shouldn’t be trotting to visit the grocery store etc. The justice system really should change the crimes over 2 years rule. A crime is a crime and when it comes to children what should anyone expect? Innocent, young, beautiful souls don’t necessarily know to tell or are too frightened when it’s someone in the family circle like this.

    Mrs. Bonnie who commented so rudely further above… I hate to break it to you but this amount of people do not randomly point a finger. For some reason maybe your children weren’t molested by the monster. Who knows, maybe they aren’t his type or maybe they just aren’t being honest however don’t stand up for someone who you only know as the pediatrician who monetarily helped you out in a rough time. Sounds like his services weren’t only helping you but himself too.

    No matter the faith I think most would agree that this mans day is to come. I’m currently pregnant with my first, please know once again a great doc has helped me and I’m sure others hear a valuable story and remind us to not EVER put our guards down as a mother. Much love to you and all involved.

  37. I watched “In a Town this Size” tonight and so appreciate that the far-reaching silence of sexual abuse has been so honestly and skillfully been depicted and “released” by Patrick Brown. Most people are uneducated about the prevalence of and the very far-reaching impact of sexual abuse on one’s life. I see the daily impact on the mind, body, in the way of symptoms, usually chronic, in the lives of clients in my private psychotherapy practice. We don’t heal through silence, isolation, or the avoidance that so often characterizes the lives of victims of sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. Releasing one’s story starts the painful healing process. We heal by feeling the pain which moves us through and beyond it. Thanks to Patrick and the survivors in this film who have modeled their own courage to heal and inspiring others to do the same.

  38. Victoria /

    Well done for an excellent documentary and for exposing the reality of the whole ridiculous version of their statute of limitations in Oklahoma. It should be overturned. I have a young daughter and it gave me strength to be more forthright with doctors and dentists etc. Just the other day, someone said to me “you don’t have to come with her, she’s a big girl”. I hesitated as I didn’t want to come across as an overbearing mother and the way they looked at me, made me feel bad. No more! I will say no and always go with her. Thank you for that. Well done for being so strong. I felt so much for you when you were banging on his door. It must have taken a lot of courage.

  39. Lisa Forbes /

    My Mom used to regularly ask me from the time I was little if anyone every touched me in my private area. She let me know that sometimes even close family and friends could do something like that and if it happened no matter what they said I should tell her. She talked about this with me from such a young age I can’t even recall the 1st time. I am so grateful. It is so very painful to hear what others have been forced to go through. My heart goes out to all of you.

    Simple Effective Way to Teach Your Children About Sex:


  40. Thank you for your very thought provoking video. I am also a survivor of incest and child sexual abuse. I honestly believe the first thing we have to do to level the field as far as making it fair….We need to do away with the statute of limitations!

    There is NO Statute of Limitations for what Survivors Deal with For Life~!

  41. Prudence /

    Thank you for the film! It takes such GUTS for all of you to tell your story! It enables us to talk about these things – especially men and boys.

    I am trying not to be too hard on the parents, but some of their reactions are hard to hear. Unsatisfying. And I get it – that in the southern, fundamentalist culture – forgiveness and minimizing is the norm. But Jesus said whoever hurts a child, it would be better for him to have a millstone around their necks and tossed into the sea.

    I live in Arkansas and a pastor here has been convicted of molestation. The new pastor came in and had all the victims write a letter of forgiveness to him and a letter to the judge asking for leniency! It is like we keep hurting the victims. I have to work to not get enraged over it.

    The vicitms and their families should be free of having to forgive. They are usually barely able to admit the truth! Then we want them to hurry and forgive? I want Liberty church (where the doctor now goes) to be honest about who is in their congregation. Churches need help dealing with this. And neighborhoods.

    I took a lot of comfort and strength from you saying you were not interested in forgiving him. Thank you for saying it. Thank you for making the victims number one – not the perpetrator.

    I am now interested in looking at the laws in my state and how to change them. I wondered if you all could do a civil suit, like what they do for wrongful deaths when the prosecutor won’t take a case.

    And lastly, Brandon seems like the healthiest in his family. Like he took on all the stuff they don’t address or talk about. Even today. But I do admire them getting on there. We all have areas we need to get healthy in.

    Thank you – good job – and really awesome work.

  42. Readah Jamison /

    I have to wonder if anyone else was bothered by the mother who did her I interview in the dark. I understand the some of the victims doing esp men who have a harder time admitting to the abuse. It was like she was embarrassed by her son, and more worried about what people would think of her. It truly left me doubly saddened for her son.

  43. I can’t believe any one would defend or even matry such a sick man !!!! I’m surprised he’s still alive honestly !!

  44. *marry

  45. I do not have the courage to leave my name /

    I just finished watching this documentary and was deeply touched and inspired by the courage and tenacity of the man who decided to produce it. I thank you for your generosity and for your bravery. I was invited into my father’s bed at the age of seven as he was very sexually aroused by me and he pushed me to engage in a sex act with him. I ran out of the bedroom before he could complete the act and for the balance of my life, until his very death, he treated me and regarded me as if I was a disgusting, revolting human being. Rejecting his advances conferred upon me the status of the lowest possible caste. I became an untouchable, unloveable, hideous “thing” and he did not hide his disdain for me from anyone. After this event, he started having an affair with my maternal grandmother in the small bed I was forced to share with her every summer. It was a shocking, shattering, disgusting, traumatic experience and it scarred me emotionally for the balance of my life, as incestuous relationships are apt to do. I struggle with feelings that are very disturbing to this day. I confessed what was going on between my father and grandmother to my mother when I reached the age of thirteen, seven years into their “relationship.” She responded by blaming me for letting it happen, and blames me until this very day, decades later. I have tried to explain to her that I was afraid to speak the words to let her know, and she cannot fathom that fear could impede a child from telling or revealing this kind of activity. From the moment I confessed to her at the age of 13 what was happening, she herself began to beat and verbally abuse me until I reached an age where I could physically defend myself. My advice to survivors, myself included, is this: it was not your fault, you did not cause it, you could not stop it, it had nothing to do with you, it had everything to do with the perpetrator(s) mental dysfunction/instability/perversion. The pain you feel and the road you have been forced to travel is not of your doing or choice, it is a natural byproduct of what happened to you. To those who doubt (especially after seeing this documentary) the magnitude of the impact that sexual perversion can inflict upon a child and the resultant dysfunction that it can create in the life of the adult that child becomes, I heap bucket upon bucket of well merited shame upon you.

  46. A Different Take /

    I am now 59 years of age. Born and raised in B’ville. Dr Bill was my Dr. Grew up thinking that every visit to the Dr meant you were supposed to have your testicles rubbed and handled. As far as I know, that’s the extent of my handling by Dr Bill, as we called him when we were younger, or simply “Dougherty” as we got older.
    Told my parents about these touchings when I was in my early 30’s. wasn’t really concerned for myself as I just thought the guy was a real whack job growing up. I was very close to both Stinson’s and Price’s, and I’m pretty sure one of the anonymous victims in the film.
    Wish I could say this really surprised me to hear these tales of abuse, but Dougherty was always around whenever I was around these two families and it wasn’t uncommon to see him cruising around town with kids, especially from these two families.
    Now for the part that is the reason for the anonymity. The idea that Louann Stinson or Harold Price were in the dark about Dougherty’s nature or proclivities towards children strikes me as a major bullshit copout! There, it’s been said. But as a first person observer of how these people behaved, especially when this prick of a weirdo was around, give me a break. Even Harold in the film notes how “odd” they all knew Dougherty to be, yet he traveled extensively with the family. Harold, if you didn’t know, you didn’t want to know! And Louann Stinson was with Dougherty so much I just thought she was as weird and shitty as he was.
    All the kids I grew up with ended up knowing what a strange bird Dougherty was, whether they were molested by him or not. Why else would this older man’s house be on the regular TPing and egging circuit we performed throughout HS.
    Anyway, just thought I’d get this out there and not let Harold and Louann try to absolve their sins with the old “if we only knew” bullshit! Either one of these families had/has, the necessary financial resources to go after this prick if they so choose. I’m thinking they’ve put out their side when the truths began to leak, now hope they have been publicly absolved. “You poor things!”

  47. Erin from TX /

    Thank you for blogging about this. Thank you, Patrick, for being brave enough to bring this horrible man to light. Although I’ve been lucky, my dad’s grandfather molested his sister. I sometimes wonder how or if my dad escaped this abuse, as they spent every Sat. morning together. Hard to imagine both ways. Dad doesn’t talk about it, but it has ruined my aunt, since her parents (my grandparents) brushed it under the rug. So sad… Nice to see these parents in the doc were advocates for their children. Wish my grandparents had been!

  48. This is such an amazing and tragic film. Understanding that this happened in another time when child abuse just wasn’t talked about the way it is today, and that parents didn’t know how to react when these things happened, especially being a man of this stature, I can only imagine. But on the other hand, as a parent, I can’t imagine being oblivious to my child going through something like this, or actually sending my child into a Dr’s office alone without going along.

    When my daughter was a month shy of her 5th birthday, she was cornered by a 21 year old developmentally delayed neighbour who sexually assaulted her. When the police arrested him, he confessed to doing the same thing to no less than at least 10 other little girls before they even made it out of the drive way. That offender was deemed too sick for jail but too cognizant to be remanded to a hospital. In the end, the State created a new program, bought a house, put him under house arrest for 10 years and loaded him up with various therapies and treatment schedules that he was required to take daily. If he missed even one day, he would go back to prison and his sentence would start over.

    From the day it happened, I praised my daughter as a hero and let her know that because she spoke up, she stopped the bad man from hurting anyone else. I told her that the police had tried to put him in jail 2 years before for hurting another little girl,, but she was so little, she couldn’t tell them clearly enough all the bad things he did, so they couldn’t keep him in jail, so she did a great thing. I let her know that she did all the right things. As she got older, we’d talk about it from time to time because I didn’t want it to be some big shameful secret. I’d answer any questions she had. As she hit puberty, I got a little more personal and let her know that no one could tell that this had happened to her by looking at her, and there was no difference between her and her friends. She seemed greatly relieved.

    I have a great relationship with my daughter. Not perfect, but we have very deep trust and communication. As for the offender, I blame his mother who left him home alone every day, especially after he’d already been accused 2 years previously, almost more than I do him. She never even apologised. And he’s out now. And yes, that bothers me a lot.

  49. I just finished watching this film. OMG, I was not only impacted, but relieved by much of what was shared. I have my “story” ,too, sadly one of the only things that this film did not bring up is, if you are abused, you may pick others in your life, who will not only abuse you again but may abuse your children. That is and was my nightmare. How does one forgive themselves that they brought a monster, pedophile, into their child’s life, of course with no knowledge of it prior to. This girl/woman, me, was physically abused for 9 years by one step-father then sexually abused by the next one. I went on to marry two different men, one at 17 and the next at 25. The 2nd one abused my daughter. How am I supposed to live with that? All of this was 25 years ago but my daughter and I still live the consequences of being molested to this day.

    “Bonnie”, it is wonderful that your kids all survived without being molested, but to say he was a wonderful pediatrician and all of his victims have no proof is just RUDE and IGNORANT.

    Thank you for this film. Thank you for those marvelous Quotes that were repeated on this blog and thank you for aiding in my healing. I do hope that you will continue to make another film about the victim’s next generation and hopefully healing for us who cannot forgive themselves.

    Sincerely, Lori

  50. Darcie /

    Just watched this amazingly thought out and thorough documentary. I too have a story, by 8 i was sexually abused by 4 people (that i can remember), one on a regular basis starting while i was still in diapers, one sporatically and 2 random strangers that i assume saw my weakness and vulnerability. I tried to talk to my mother at one point in the beginning but the perpetrator was the daughter of her best friend and i couldn’t bare the thought of taking that friendship away from her. Guess that just shows my self worth. I am now 38, and have only told 3 people. Not many details just basic yes this happened but it’s ok type of responses, but it is definity not and haunts me daily. Nightmare and night terrors have been a constant in my life along with insomnia and Major Clinical Depression which my dr has said is severe. But the worst of it is my son, despite my talking to him about good touch and bad, being open and nonjudgemental or shaming or blaming, has now been a victim himself – twice. The first was by the 14 yr old son of his daycare provider – my son was 3 at the time. She was recommended to me by a friend and was actually a family member of hers. He was there for three months when he told me what was happening. He was 3yrs old and i immediately took him to the er and filed a police report which led to nothing. This is after speaking with officers that i personally knew and had told me this was not the first time they had heard if a case against this child for the same thing. The daycare was finally shut down years later. Then again he was abused by a cousin over the course of a year when he was 5-6. He did not tell me until he was twelve this time. I was horrified, i love this nephew like my own child and his mother is not only my niece but my best friend. The worst part is that my son had been in therapy and psychiatric care for 9 yrs by this point and had also not told his doctor’s. I feel horrible, this happened to me so i of all people should have seen the signs and known before it even happened. I let my son down and now he is paying the price for my poor choices – even though i thought i was doing what was best, leaving him with people i trusted. I am guilty, resentful and pissed every day. He should not have to walk this horrendous path, it has made his life very difficult. Depression, anxiety, low self esteem, anger control problems, social awkwardness, learning difficulties due to constant fear of judgement from others in every aspect of his life, insomnia, night terrors, bed wetting and various ocd issues. I am hopeful that he will be able to find peace and forgive himself and us for not knowing and helping sooner. He is such a wonderful kid and there is no telling how his life could be different right now if i had made better choices for him and saw more signs of problems sooner. It’s a tightrope to walk – how cautious is too cautious, how little is too dangerous. I try everyday to let him know how wonderul he is, how important he is and how he was not in control or responsible for any of it and how sorry i am for not protecting him. It’s deplorable to me that anyone can feel that they have the right to destroy someone else so completely from their very core out. It permeates every aspect of your life, friendships, relationships, work relations, the way you interact with your children and even the way you want your spouse to interact with their own children. You tend to look at everyone through evil tinted glasses. It’s exhausting, devastating to those around you and all consuming. Thank you so much for this documentary. You are an incredibly brave man and all that were involved are as well. It should not be a taboo subject to talk about but one that when is talked about should never be discounted until it can be completed investigated and found if it is in fact true or false – which i do not think would be the case 99.9% of the time. We have an obligation to always believe a child – yes even a child that may have a history of lying about trivial or larger things. You never truly know someone and the one time you turn your back on that child it could be the one time They need you the most.
    Thank you and i wish you a life of love, happiness and peace.

  51. I do not know where to begin except to say that my family has been profoundly affected by abuse and this film helped me tremendously.

    Our family’s nightmare began after enrolling our eldest son in a “Citadel” Camp program in 2001. The Citadel is an old esteemed University in Charleston, SC. My son had been identified as a victim of a now known convicted pedophile, Marine Captain, Michael Arpaio, an esteemed Citadel graduate. My son was supplied alcohol and had no recollection of abuse.

    Fast forward, late 2007, another son began tennis lessons with a city recreation dept. Unfortunately, another highly decorated Citadel Graduate with a clean background. Head of their honor council and Algernon Sydney Award for his outstanding public service record.

    In 2011, Skip Reville, the highly decorated Citadel graduate was arrested for child sexual abuse and pled guilty to molesting some 40 pre-pubescent boys. Through the FIA, it was revealed that he had been outed prior to meeting him but was never reported by his alma Mater, the Citadel. They passed him on to the other unsuspecting institutions.

    Bottom line: he pled guilty but the state supported institution that tried to bribe the initial person who reported him…to make a long story short…the Citadel had more than 3 occasions to report his illegal contact with children and they did nothing and said nothing.

    They (the Citadel) passed him off to the rest of the community as an exemplary cadet. Since that time that have thwarted victims and their families from seeking any relief.

    A sad day for victims and their families.

    • Dean /

      I unfortunately was a victim of Dr Bill and got through it. My Aunt an Uncle were good friends of the Drs. Anyway this is not why I comment I comment to say that if he was convicted of 40 counts of child abuse then he should have been sent to jail. I do not think our laws are strict enough for this type of crime.

  52. Silvia Beltran /

    I wish i can say a word to make this people feel good, hope all you guys had find the way to treat all this pain. Thank for this documentary

  53. Ihosvany /

    Just literally finished watching your documentary and the first thing i did was google this church that he belongs too, Liberty church in Tulsa, Ok. I told them that they need to help him come forth with everything that he did and to at least give the victims the closure to finally put all this behind them. I hope he can come forward and publicly apologize to every one he has hurt.

  54. Gil Browder /

    Bill Dougherty was my pediatrician and he is a sociopath and a pedophile. Thank you, Patrick V. Brown, for having the courage and tenacity to get our stories told.

  55. Cherie Morrissey /

    Thank you Patrick and for all who participated in this amazing, yet tragic documentary. I too was sexually abused as a child by an Uncle for years. Ironically, my Grandmother had the same Cat Clock in her kitchen as the doctor did in the examination room. Unfortunately, my parents, sister or extended family did not support me when I finally revealed the truth to the family when I was 32. It has been a long and painful journey but getting help, surrounding yourself with people who believe and love you is key. I commend the parents in this movie for their courage to believe their kids, express their anger and to participate in this documentary.

    • Masuma Akter /

      Truth is truth. You don’t need anyone when you are in the path of truth. You are brave that you spoke out loud. I know it’s very hard.

  56. Due to the Dr. Kyle Stewart (pyschiatrist) sexually molesting female patients, I was
    searching for any updates – I ran across this article. I’ve lived in Bartlesville, OK for years and have never heard of this story. Molested as a young child, I always read anything I see regarding LAWS, STATUTE of LIMITATIONS, etc., Why have other states allowed Catholic Priests to be prosecuted, sued decades after their sex crimes and Physicians STILL are protected by two years in Oklahoma? There are other Kyle
    Stewart victims – their two years are up! Their pain will live on forever as Grace Community Church preaches they must forgive Dr. Stewart or they will go to hell themselves! I pray someone will make a documentary about the victims of Dr. Stewart. According to The Atlanta Constitution Journal, those women had been molested as children. I need to order the documentary, thank you in advance for making public the horrendous sexual crimes against children (Bartlesville always tries to hide). Parents never dismiss a story your child relays to you. Never let a physician be alone with your child. Now, beware of Pyschiatrists (Elders of churches), just beware and aware.

  57. I too was molested by the executive editor of a scandalous rag out of fla. he molested me for years starting at age 7 and ending at 16. It has had serious effects on me and my ability to trust all people. Mostly men. I din’t do years of therapy and it has helped but the damage is life long. I don’t walk around thinking about it and believe I have forgiven him but watching this In a town this size and Boys Town really stirs um emotion that muse be buried very deep. My molester molested 4 out of 5 of his step children and then was busted by the family only to move in with his secretary and have children with her who I can only assume he molested as well since they were under 7 years old while he still lived with Tish their mother. He is dead now so the need to hold him accountable is in Gods hands.

  58. I just recently found out about this movie and cannot thank the filmmaker enough for making it. I visited Dr. Dougherty ONE TIME as a child and he took advantage because my mom was across the hall with my younger brother with a different doctor. It was supposed to be a routine physical so we could participate in Little League.

    I was young enough to not immediately understand that what happened was completely inappropriate and didn’t fully figure things out until years later – plus, I didn’t even know the man’s name. As soon as I saw the cover art for the documentary I was frozen – because I recognized his face. THAT WAS THE FACE. We moved away from Bartlesville in the early 80s and I never knew about the other children. I wasn’t even positive I remembered things correctly… but I did. And I thank you for giving me that piece of mind back and helping me find true peace of mind.

  59. Thank you for this documentary. What the Psychologist had to say about sexual abuse in this film made a huge impact on me. I have never heard anyone articulate so well the depths and layers of destruction it causes. To hear it layed out so clearly helped me process some things that I’ve needed to deal with for a long time. Same goes for the victim’s statements… the brutal honesty of every emotion that goes along with this is difficult to come to terms with. I identified with so much of what was said, it’s like I’ve had an epiphany in understanding some of my own behaviors.

  60. Matilda /

    God Bless you for the courage to expose this sick, evil Man. He destroyed many lives. He is Evil and should be in Jail..Praise God…you exposed this evil man…and he’s goes to Church? Give me a break…The devil goes to Church too.
    We must never leave our children alone with anyone.

  61. William Dougherty has finally died Saturday Dec 30th, 2017.

  62. Congratulations on creating such a powerful and meaningful work. I am coming from the other side of the table in one important aspect.

    Given the removal of statute of limitations in my state combined with the growing tactic of using false allegations in child custody battles, I am the victim of one family member’s deliberately false allegations meant to provide leverage over me in a dispute.

    As I have studied the current laws, especially rape shield law, I have discusovered the pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction one is guilty unless proven innocent. Prior false allegations are inadmissible, anything I say or do is considered evidence of guilt and especially troubling is the child protective services ethos of believing every accusation unless irrefutable evidence proves otherwise. Of course, our justice system in no other area of law requires the defendant to prove a negative since it is a logical impossibility.

    Being new to the entire topic, I couldn’t understand why advocates for children had gone so far in corrupting our justice system against the innocent. This documentary, at minimum, provides an excellent case study as to how frustrating and damaging the lack of enforcement was to the lives of many true victims of child sexual abuse.

  63. Elaine /

    I grew up in Bartlesville and I consider many of the nerds there from my time to be secretive. I suspect that something happened to me when I was taken to a friends house after a night of drinking. Frank Phillips had outlaw friends and the top geniuses were picked from all over the world. Then their kids scattered back out but stay in touch with each other. I think they still conspire against me. They use the medical field to ruin people.
    There was something called the pink room at Jane Phillips hospital. You could be in there then be taken for shock treatments elsewhere so that you would have no memory of your time in the room with a video camera.

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