A Johnson County pediatric neurologist will remain in custody pending the outcome of his case, in which he’s accused of attempting to make child sexual abuse material, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
During preliminary and detention hearings Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill A. Morris denied a request to release 49-year-old Brian M. Aalbers of Overland Park on bond, and instead ordered him to be detained until the criminal case is resolved.
After the hearing, Aalbers’ defense attorney, Greg Watt, said he looks forward to giving his client a zealous defense and while the hearings didn’t go as intended, they will continue moving forward.
Aalbers, who has an active osteopathic physician license according to the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts website, was charged earlier this month with one felony count of attempted production of child pornography between Dec. 28, 2020, and Oct. 28, 2023, according to court documents.
The complaint containing the charge was unsealed last week after Aalbers was arrested.
Kansas City police and the FBI began investigating Aalbers in late October when a person contacted authorities saying they had discovered secretly placed video cameras. The location of the cameras was redacted from court documents made available last week.
Although Aalbers showed up while police were there, officers released him pending further investigation after consulting with detectives.
Later, a person contacted Kansas City police, saying Aalbers was sending texts that were alleged to be suicidal, including that he feared losing “his license” and “going to jail.” The person traced Aalbers through an app on a phone, noting that he was in Lenexa.
Officers with the Lenexa Police Department found him at a Lenexa hotel and took him for a voluntary mental health treatment.
Devices Aalbers had in his possession when he went to the hospital for treatment were locked up in a security office. On Oct. 30, while admitted there, Aalbers allegedly contacted the person who reported him to police and asked that his backpack be retrieved.
Aalbers allegedly asked the person to destroy the items because there was “bad stuff” on the devices, according to an affidavit prepared by an FBI agent.
After obtaining search warrants in federal court, authorities seized several devices, which included laptops, cameras and memory cards. They were brought to the FBI’s Heart of America Regional Forensics Computer Laboratory for analysis.
Authorities allegedly searched through more than 20,000 videos. A little more than 1,000 were flagged by a forensic computer analyst, according to the affidavit.
Aalbers appeared in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in downtown Kansas City for the hearings Tuesday dressed in a black-and-gray-striped prison uniform.
After both the prosecution and defense stipulated to the affidavit attached to the complaint as being direct testimony, Morris found that probable cause was established and that Aalbers be bound over for further proceedings.
During the detention hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen A. Brackett requested that Aalbers be held in federal custody, alleging, in part, that he is a danger to the community and a flight risk due to the potential punishment if convicted, which is a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison.
She also cited the number of videos that were found and his alleged attempts to have a person destroy items. Brackett also said there have been protection orders filed against Aalbers and that he had made financial transactions indicating he was trying to access a large amount of funds.
There are also numerous victims that have yet to be identified, she said.
Watt, Aalbers’ defense attorney, said they understood the seriousness and gravity of the allegations, but he urged the judge to consider releasing his client on bond saying he had no criminal history, and that he had a long and productive career that came to an abrupt end when he resigned in light of the allegations.
Aalbers was very rooted in the Kansas City area, was not a flight risk and would be willing to surrender his passport, Watt said. Aalbers also lacked the desire to hurt himself. As for the financial transactions, Watt said it was to prepare to hire counsel and be able to support himself.
In her order denying bond, Morris cited, among other things, that the allegations span a period of nearly three years and involved numerous devices to make thousands of videos.
The order also said that since the investigation started, Aalbers allegedly attempted to access funds and make large transfers and allegedly requested that evidence be destroyed.
Aalbers also has mental health concerns, according to the judge’s order.
There are two full orders of protection against defendant, as well as a third temporary order of protection, according to the judge’s order. Records filed in Johnson County court show family members sought orders of protection against Aalbers in connection with the criminal investigation.