A Billings child and adolescent psychiatrist who spent time in prison for possessing child pornography is trying yet again to get his medical license back so he can return to practice.

Dr. James H. Peak has petitioned the state Board of Medical Examiners to reinstate his license when it meets Friday in Helena. Peak is expected to appear before the board, according to a spokesman for the board.

Peak, 52, did not return phone calls Wednesday.

Peak’s quest to get back his license began in January but it has been repeatedly stalled. Despite delays, the board has said it wants to work with Peak toward reinstatement.

The board in January postponed Peak’s request until March. The delay was designed to give Peak time to come up with a plan to demonstrate he will be supervised by an expert, specifically Dr. Thomas Van Dyk, a psychiatrist and medical director at the Mental Health Center. Van Dyk has been one of Peaks’ most ardent advocates and mentors.

Neither Peak nor Van Dyk presented any plan to the board in March. Van Dyk also could not be reached for comment.

Another of Peak's supporters has been Michael J. Ramirez, clinical coordinator for the Montana Professional Assistance Program, who calls Peak a “model participant” in the program. MPAP’s purpose is to address the problems of physicians or dentists whose ability to practice has been impaired because of sexual misconduct, substance abuse, psychiatric illness or other issues. Peak is a participant of the program.

Ramirez has said that the longer it takes for Peak to be reinstated, “competence becomes an issue.”

Peak served just less than 10 months in a Seattle federal prison after pleading guilty in August 2011 to possessing child pornography. He had been employed as a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Billings Clinic since 1994.

Since his release from prison, Peak has been working to restore not only his medical license but also his reputation and the trust he lost.

Since August, he has been volunteering 20 hours a week at the South Central Montana Regional Mental Health Center in Billings, where he is helping update policies and procedures. He has no contact with patients.


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