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Children’s Hospital doctor had previous reprimand for viewing adult porn

Ex-Phillips Academy medical director disciplined in ’99 for viewing adult porn

Dr. Richard Keller

Dr. Richard Keller

Dr. Richard Keller, the former medical director of Phillips Academy in Andover who was arrested Thursday on charges of receiving child pornography, had been disciplined several times by the school, including once for viewing adult pornography on a school computer, head of school John Palfrey said Friday in a note to the academy community.

Keller was disciplined for the 1999 episode, Palfrey said, and three years later he was reprimanded again for showing students an “inappropriate cartoon.”

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Authorities arrested Keller, 56, at his Andover home after tracing his name, e-mail, and billing ­address from the customer database of a foreign company that sold pornographic movies depicting ­minors, investigators said. When they searched Keller’s home Thursday morning, they found at least 60 DVDs of child pornography and 500 sexually explicit photos involving minors, according to statements from the US attorney’s office.

Spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-­Sterling said Friday that ­detectives are trying to determine the origin of those photos and whether they were produced by Keller or a third party.

“We need to do forensics and to take a closer look,” DiIorio-Sterling said. “It will take time to determine who’s in the photos.”

In an e-mail to Phillips Academy students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff Friday evening, Palfrey said he had no reason to believe that students were ­affected by Keller’s alleged crimes. He also provided some explanation about why Keller was dismissed after 19 years as medical director. Keller had a history of disciplinary issues in addition to the reprimands for viewing porn and showing the cartoon.

School spokeswoman Tracy Sweet said that a reprimand at Phillips Academy can range from written or verbal warnings to probation or, ultimately, termination. She declined to describe the contents of the cartoon, or specify the disciplinary actions taken.

Subsequent episodes involving “poor management and poor judgment” led the school to put Keller on probation in 2009, though Palfrey did not ­explain further. And in 2010, Keller sent an “inappropriate voicemail message” to a colleague.

Keller then said that the school had discriminated against him, Sweet said, and an independent counsel was brought in to conduct an internal investigation. The investigation found the assertion groundless, Palfrey wrote, and the school told Keller in April 2011 that his contract would not be renewed. Keller resigned and left the school that month, Palfrey said.

“As always, our highest priority is the safety of our students,” Palfrey wrote.

According to school financial records filed with the state, Keller received $210,310 in salary and benefits for the fiscal year that ended in June 2011. He also received housing from the school that year.

After leaving Phillips Academy, Keller continued to work as a part-time clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. He has been placed on leave from both roles.

Keller was affiliated with Boston Children’s between 1985 and 1992, first as a fellow and researcher in endocrinology and then as a full-time assistant in medicine, hospital spokesman Robert Graham said in an e-mail Friday. ­Between 2006 and 2011, Keller held one half-day clinic for the hospital each month.

In November 2011, Keller was hired half time to hold four clinic sessions per week, mostly at the hospital’s satellite sites, Graham said. The hospital gave him a $50,000 interest-free housing loan as an incentive to make that commitment.

Keller moved with a Phillips Academy teacher and their ­infant son to a home near the school’s campus late last year.

Graham said Keller has a special interest in diabetes care and also saw patients with growth, calcium, and thyroid disorders. Patients have all been rescheduled to see other doctors, he said.

By Friday, the hospital had received no complaints about Keller from patients or family members.

“There have been a few calls about test results and if care provided by Dr. Keller was ­appropriate,” Graham said. “In each instance a clinician reviewed the inquiry and resolved the questions by directly speaking with the parents.”

Phillips Academy has e-mailed all alumni and current students, urging them to contact investigators if they have any pertinent information. ­Graham would not say whether the hospital plans to contact Keller’s past patients who don’t have pending appointments.

“Our patient services are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions and address any concerns the patients might have,” he said.

Liz Kowalczyk of the Globe staff contributed to this report. ­Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at cconaboy@boston.com. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy. Martine Powers can be reached at mpowers@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.

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