Former missionary doctor in court on local sex crime charge


HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A former doctor appeared in court Tuesday to be charged with sexually assaulting a young girl at his office in Allendale more than 15 years ago.

Donn Ketcham, now 85, of Wyoming, is the same former doctor who was the subject of a report that alleged he had molested nearly two dozen girls and women at a mission in Bangladesh in the 1970s and 1980s.

Ketcham turned himself in Tuesday morning at Hudsonville District Court and was arraigned on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual assault — the most serious of the sexual assault charges. It carries a penalty of up to life in prison.

He was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond, which means he didn’t have to put up any money. He was ordered to stay in Michigan.

A probable cause affidavit shows a woman, now 23, claimed she was 6 or 7 years old in 1999 when Ketcham molested her in his office in Allendale. She told police the assault lasted about 15 seconds. Detectives have said the girl’s mom was in the exam room at the time, but that the doctor blocked her view of what was happening.

She first came forward in 2011, but detectives have said Ketcham was out of the country at the time and she and her mom didn’t pursue it.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office reached back out to her after Target 8 told the stories of women allegedly molested by Ketcham in Bangladesh, where he worked as a Baptist missionary doctor. Most of the alleged victims in that case were the children of missionaries. A report showed he committed most of the assaults under the guise of medicine.

After the allegations of sexual misconduct forced him to leave the mission in Bangladesh in 1989, Ketcham started practicing medicine in Allendale.

The criminal complaint against Ketcham, signed by a judge Monday, lists at least four alleged Bangladesh victims as witnesses in the new case. Detectives said they plan to include Ketcham’s past to bolster the local case against him.

The state of Michigan forced Ketcham to surrender his medical license after learning four years ago about the Bangladesh abuse allegations.

Target 8 tried reaching Ketcham and also left a message for his attorney. He is expected back in court on Dec. 28 for a hearing to determine if he’ll go to trial.

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