Louisiana jury convicts former Wrangell physician of rape

Two mug shots of a white man.
Greg Salard. (Courtesy Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office)

A former Wrangell doctor and former chief of staff of the Wrangell Medical Center may spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted last month of raping a girl in Louisiana more than a decade ago.

Gregory Salard, 60, was found guilty in Caddo Parish in northwestern Louisiana on Nov. 19. The rape happened between 2004 and 2005, according to a statement from the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office. The girl was younger than 13 at the time, the statement said.

Salard worked as a physician in Wrangell from 2009 to 2014. He was hired by Alaska Island Community Services, which contracted with the community-owned hospital at the time. He was arrested at his home in Wrangell in October 2014 for distributing and possessing child pornography from his laptop. He was convicted and sentenced for the felony crimes in federal court the following year. 

Salard’s federal child pornography charges prompted the state of Louisiana to revisit a sexual assault investigation against him from 2007, and serve him an arrest warrant as a fugitive from justice while he was jailed at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau. Salard was extradited to Louisiana in 2016 following his conviction in Alaska.

The Wrangell Medical Center board, which ran the hospital at the time, had suspended Salard’s ability to treat patients at the hospital between 2011 and 2013. At the time, KSTK reported that the board alleged Salard was a “serial harasser of young women.” Shortly thereafter, eight of the nine members of the hospital board that suspended Salard were voted off the board in a special election.

Later reports show that the community hospital learned of sexual assault investigations against Salard in Louisiana and Arkansas, neither of which were brought to trial in the late 2000s. Those allegations — and incidents where Salard allegedly tried to convince pregnant patients to allow him and his wife to adopt their babies — led the former WMC’s board to revoke Salard’s privileges at the hospital and investigate him.

But ultimately, Salard was reinstated after a legal battle with the hospital’s board, and after the recall removed most of the board’s former members. Salard went on to serve as the hospital’s chief of staff – overseeing medical divisions and acting as a de facto medical director – beginning in July 2013. 

In the weeks following Salard’s October 2014 arrest, he surrendered his Alaska medical license and lost his job in Wrangell.

Salard’s Louisiana sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13. He faces “life in prison at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence,” said the district attorney’s statement.

Get in touch with KSTK at news@kstk.org or (907) 874-2345.

Previous articleThree volcanoes are erupting across the Aleutian Chain. But scientists aren’t worried.
Next articleOne man is dead and another missing after their skiff sinks near Whittier