In A Town This Size is a documentary that debuted in 2011. It is based on the little town of Bartlesville, Oklahoma and the serial, child molester, Pediatric Bill Dougherty, who operated between the sixties and seventies.
When the film opens, we are introduced to several different victims of the serial pedophiliac. Brandy was a victim of Dougherty, who still has great difficulty talking about the times, when he was taken advantage of by Bill. He spent many years in counseling, but the psychiatrist never promised him that he would ever be free of his sexual abuse and his horrendous memories. Brandy never felt anger towards Dr. Dougherty and always protected him. He showed self-destructive patterns of behavior through many broken relationships. He is now married to Suzie and they have two children.
Another victim, Mike Dutcher, feels like he has failed as an adult, because of the abuse that he suffered at the hands of Dougherty. The pattern of abuse continued throughout his three marriages, in which he was mistreated by all three of his wives. He is now considered an underachiever, because he has never been successful at anything.
Small children were escorted into his examination rooms, where he would molest them. He would use petroleum jelly and Playboy magazines to get the boys aroused. Dr. Dougherty performed oral sexual acts on the boys quite often. He would play, “Candy Bar Blues”, a song by Peter, Paul, and Mary. He knew that the kids could not escape the examination room, because the doorknob was unreachable.
When the sexual allegations came out against Dr. Dougherty, it was discovered that the statue of limitations had expired. He never billed many of his patient’s parents most likely, due to guilt. Bill sodomized one child, but denied the allegations. He was believable to most of his friends, patients, and colleagues so they continued to stay friends with him. During the 1980’s, he eventually retired, before the Oklahoma Board Of Medicine ever had the chance to revoke his professional license.
All of Bill’s victims were not boys, because some girls eventually came out to tell their stories. He perpetrated them while they were in a motel swimming pool. One victim said that Bill would murder children’s souls.
It was believed that Dr. Dougherty put his victims on a schedule. He has some victims that were very skilled and he preferred those the best. He eventually started inviting the children to his home, where he would molest them. The children began to experience apprehension, when they knew that they had an upcoming appointment with the doctor.
It was not uncommon for Dougherty to make the children run in place, during their examinations, while he masturbated. One victim admits to violating other children, which he felt was related to his sexual abuse. Many of the victim’s parents and Bartlesville’s citizens admitted to feeling the urge to kill Bill, but they never acted on their impulses. Others found Christ and forgave him for what he had done to the children.
A Town This Size is definitely a difficult story to swallow. It was unbelievable how Dr. Bill Dougherty got away with these heinous crimes for nearly two and a half decades, without someone stepping in and putting a stop to it. Many of these parents were naive to what was going on with their children and how they were being molested in his examination rooms, while they stayed in the waiting room. It is so sad that this man has been protected by the laws surround the statue of limitations, Oklahoma officials, and his very own medical staff. All medical doctors and nurses are mandated to report physical and sexual abuse, but that surely did not happen in this case. I feel that Dougherty and his entire staff should have had their medical licenses revoked and thrown in jail for the rest of their entire lives.
It took a lot of courage for victim, Patrick Viersen Brown to make this documentary. He did exceptionally well with editing the interviews and not letting them drag out too long. This film gave the victims an opportunity to tell their stories to the world. These sexual abuse incidences reminds me of the Jerry Sandusky case, because so many people went far and beyond to protect him even though they knew what he was doing would destroy the lives of at least 20 young victims. This film deserves a 7 out of 10.