LOS ANGELES – About two months ago, Dr. Kevin Antario Brown was hobnobbing with guests at a celebrity poker tournament at the Playboy Mansion, his disaster-relief medical charity the beneficiary of the lavish event.
Hugh Hefner was there, of course. So was Brown's father, the leader of the Bermudan government.
Now the 37-year-old doctor is in a Los Angeles jail cell, charged with molesting eight patients, one of them only 15 years old. Investigators are also looking into Brown's finances and several other sexual allegations, some dating back about a decade.
The case has blindsided Brown's friends and family, who adamantly deny the charges. They point to Brown's reputation in the community and his charitable work in some of the world's worst disaster zones as a testament to his character.
"Kevin is an excellent father, husband and physician, and I along with his family and friends stand behind him," Brown's wife, Chanel, told The Associated Press. "I trust him and I believe in his innocence."
Brown was arrested July 8 at his home a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles. He initially was charged with sexual battery and exploiting his position as a doctor in incidents involving a female patient and a female undercover police officer posing as a patient.
Brown quickly posted $50,000 bail, but investigators were just getting started. The Los Angeles Police Department appealed for other potential victims to come forward.
Six more accusers did, and Brown was arrested again Monday. He was charged with 19 felony counts, including a lewd act on a 15-year-old child, rape, sexual battery by fraud and sexual exploitation.
Bail was set at $4 million after prosecutors argued Brown was a flight risk to Bermuda or another Caribbean island that may not have extradition treaties with the United States.
"With the number of victims and the allegations, he's also a risk, a danger to society," Deputy District Attorney Ann Marie Wise said.
While the charges date to 2006, investigators are looking into allegations that go back about 10 years to Brown's residency at the Martin Luther King Jr. Drew Medical Center, Wise said, though those incidents likely fall outside the statute of limitations.
Defense lawyer Blair Berk declined to comment on the specifics of the case but said Brown would "vigorously defend his innocence."
A spokesman said Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown declined to comment Thursday. The elder Brown, elected in 2006, is also a doctor and spent decades practicing medicine in the United States. Kevin Brown, one of the premier's four sons, is a U.S. citizen.
On the premier's recent trip to the Playboy Mansion, he handed out taxpayer-funded prizes in the form of three trips to Bermuda as part of a silent auction, drawing criticism from the island's opposition party, The Royal Gazette of Bermuda reported.
Kevin Brown is facing a hearing before the California Medical Board to suspend his medical license.
He also is being investigated by California's bureau of medical fraud and elder abuse over alleged involvement in a health care fraud scheme, Wise said. He has not been charged in that probe.
Harry Nelson, another attorney for Brown, said his client had initially been investigated in 2005 over claims that he owed the Medicare system more than $1 million. Nelson said Brown was vindicated in the case.
"He was found to be a credible, thorough physician who was rendering good services," Nelson said.
Rod Henley, who has been friends with Brown for about four years, said the description painted by prosecutors was "completely antithetical" to the Little League-coaching family man he knows.
"I have never ever seen him look twice at another woman," Henley said. "I have never seen him turn his head."
Brown's charity, the Urban Health Institute, reported $193,000 in revenue in 2006, according to Internal Revenue Service documents. He provided medical aid in the Houston Astrodome to New Orleans residents who fled Hurricane Katrina and he traveled to the island of Ko Phi Phi in Thailand to help after the 2004 tsunami. His organization also took doctors to remote villages in Nigeria, documents show.
"I trust him implicitly and I have the deepest respect for the philanthropic work he has done throughout the world," family friend Laura Rogers said.
Brown's arraignment is set for Aug. 7 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 27 years in prison, Wise said.