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Plastic surgeon takes plea deal in kidnapping case
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An Orem plastic surgeon accused of attacking his girlfriend last month has taken a plea deal.

Joseph Edward Berg, 46, entered the pleas Tuesday in 4th District Court after spending a night in the Utah County Jail for missing a hearing that had been set for Monday.

According to charging documents filed in 4th District Court, Berg attacked his live-in girlfriend in the early hours of Nov. 6, grabbing her hair and dragging her to a bedroom closet.

During the altercation, the 48-year-old woman managed to dial 911 from a bathroom phone, which she left off the hook, the charges state. In the recording, nothing is said directly into the phone but a woman can be heard pleading for a man to stop.

Berg, who owns the Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Institute in Orem, tied the woman's hands and tried to stop her from screaming by covering her mouth, first with his hands and then with a cloth, court documents state.

After 20 minutes of knocking, according to court documents, police forced their way into the home and found the woman bound and kneeling in a closet.

Berg pleaded guilty to a reduced count of second-degree felony kidnapping and two third-degree felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a restricted person. The firearm charge stemmed from having a gun while also illegally possessing prescription drugs, court documents state.

Two other counts against Berg were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

The surgeon was set free pending his Feb. 27 sentencing.

Earlier this month, the state's Division of Professional and Occupational Licensing (DOPL) suspended Berg's medical license. According to a DOPL report, Berg began acting strangely this summer: His staff witnessed him fall asleep standing up, swallow handfuls of pills and buy drugs not used in his practice. His erratic actions caused staff members to cancel his surgeries and quit en masse, according to the report.

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @aaronfalk

Court • If probation is completed, felonies will be reduced to misdemeanors.
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