Rather than attempt to convince a jury of his innocence, Dr. Jeffrey Klem, who made headlines in 2006 when accusations of child molestation surfaced, settled while a pool of potential jurors were at lunch.
As the Southeast Texas Record reported earlier this month, the civil trial of Steve and Susan Smith et al vs. Klem was slated to begin June 21.
Although jury selection had started Monday morning, the parties announced that they had reached a confidential settlement around 1:30 p.m. Ã¯Â¿Â½ the time potentials jurors were instructed to return from their afternoon lunch break.
Plaintiffs in the case alleged Klem abused several young women who were members of New Life Tabernacle - the church Klem attended and where he met his wife Beth, the daughter of the church's pastor.
Steve and Susan Smith and another family filed suit In August 2006 against the Beaumont cardiologist, the Rev. Lonnie Treadway and New Life Tabernacle, alleging child molestation and breach of fiduciary duty.
According to court papers, the families claim Klem began molesting their daughters in June 2001 and continued doing so until 2006.
Treadway and the church settled with the families last June.
In addition to the civil case, Klem also faced criminal charges for the alleged incidents. According to a Beaumont Enterprise article, Klem was first indicted in 2006 on three counts of indecency with a child in Jefferson County and two counts in Harris County.
He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of injury to a child, and was sentenced to 10 years deferred adjudication in March 2009.
Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, presided over the case.
The plaintiffs were represented by Beaumont attorney Clay Dugas.
Klem was represented in part by attorney John Davis.
Case No. B177-514