The Associated Press
December 3, 1979
Dateline: Columbia, S.C.
A psychiatrist sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for taking about $750,000 in property from homes in fashionable neighborhoods said he had not anticipated the “awesome consequences” of his actions.
Dr. Ian Gale, 41, told Circuit Judge Walter T. Cox III before he was sentenced on one count of housebreaking and larceny that he was “sorry” for what he had done. “It’s a very easy thing for someone to say they are sorry,” Gale said.
He said he did not anticipate the damage to his son, his patients and society.
“I’ve relearned something I used to know … that the higher a person goes in society the greater is their capacity for doing good or doing damage,” Gale said.
Gale was ordered to serve the same sentence on seven other burglary counts, but Cox directed the terms run concurrently with the first sentence.
Gale said that a youngster it “bothered” him to see persons in responsibile positions “held up for dereliction of duty.”
Now, he said, “I’m very sorry for my name being added to that list. I’m really sorry about that.”
Cox told Gale, who had no previous record of crime, that he was “stern, but lenient” with first offenders. The judge said Gale’s extensive medical and legal background worked for and against him, because he was better educated than most defendants. Gale has a law degree in addition to his medical degree.
Cox told the state Department of Corrections to determine whether Gale’s abilities as a physician could be useful and to send him to an appropriate prison.
Gale pleaded guilty Oct. 8. When he was arrested after a high-speed chase last July, Richland County Sheriff Frank Powell described Gale as a “modern day Jekyll and Hyde.”
Deputies found a room at Gale’s home that was sealed off from other members of his family. In it were thousands of dollars in stolen items and rare coins and Nazi paraphernalia.
A probe of the burglaries, which occurred over several years, began when police traced to Gale a check stolen from one of the residences and written for a small sum at a Columbia bank.