When this physician gets the fever, it's the women he dates who can't shake the bug

Sandra Ebersohl wasn't looking to meet anybody new on ScarletLifestyle.com. The 44-year-old Colorado Springs woman was going through a divorce and had signed up for the website and forum run by the Denver swingers' club the Scarlet Ranch to reconnect with a couple she'd met through her ex-boyfriend. But when a man with the online handle Dino1970 messaged her in December 2009, she was intrigued.

"I'm intense and driven," his profile said. "I want someone who takes real pride in their body and is willing to work hard to look and be their best."

Dino1970 described himself as "lean and muscled" and included a shirtless photo. He said he was "an intense (but not humorless) professional" who joined the site because it was "far enough past the edge" that it diminished the chances he'd be discovered on it and embarrassed. His handle was a reference to his 1970 Ferrari Dino. "I've ended a 15 yr marriage to a 'trophy wife' lacking the spark that my libido needs and deserves," he wrote. "Now I'm just looking to get to know some new friends in a guilt-free, nonjudgmental way."

The first message he ever sent to Ebersohl was cute. She hadn't listed her name on her profile, so it began, "Hi [Your name here]." "I've never been to the ranch," he wrote. "Maybe you can help me avoid rookie mistakes." He signed his message, "Lou."

"He sounded nice," says Ebersohl. "There was no reason not to talk to the man."

Not yet. Four months later, in April, Ebersohl filed a restraining order against Dr. Louis Hampers, the head of emergency medicine at The Children's Hospital in Aurora and the 44-year-old man behind Dino1970. The two had dated off and on after meeting online. There was a pattern to their relationship, she says: Things would be good, and then, out of the blue, Hampers's behavior would become erratic and he'd start acting like a jerk. Ebersohl would break up with him, only to take him back when he called her, upset. The final straw was when, in the midst of an argument, he emptied a drawer full of her seizure medication into a bag and refused to give it back to her.

By that time, Hampers was facing another restraining order from a different woman, one with a high-profile job: 9News investigative reporter Deborah Sherman. The 44-year-old TV personality had broken a date with Hampers in January; after that, Sherman said in court filings, he harassed her via e-mail and text, sending her twenty-plus frightening missives over two months in which he demanded that she apologize for snubbing him and threatened to ruin her career.

Both restraining-order cases have made their way through the court system, but Hampers may soon be dealing with a lot more trouble. The Children's Hospital says Hampers went on voluntary paid sick leave in April, and Ebersohl says the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners has called her and may be investigating him.

"He went through a breakdown," she says. "He's a mess."

Police in Denver and Colorado Springs also have open investigations of Hampers in connection with the restraining-order cases, and Sherman has filed a civil suit against him, alleging defamation, emotional distress, invasion of privacy, damaging her relationship with 9News and outrageous conduct.

Outrageous conduct that got stranger by the day.

After their first flirty contact online in December, Hampers and Ebersohl began swapping e-mails and photos. Hampers sent several racy ones, Ebersohl says, including one of him in a towel and another of him completely naked.

He also brazenly posted the photos on his ScarletLifestyle profile, says Ebersohl, who provided a copy of the profile to Westword. "I sent him an e-mail that said, 'What are you doing?'" Ebersohl recalls. "You're the reason pics 4 and 5 exist," he wrote. "...Do I detect some jealousy? Don't worry, no one but the guys in the locker room are getting a view like [picture] 5 in the flesh (actually, even they are only seeing my little friend 'at ease' — much less impressive in that mode)."

"I wasn't saying I'm jealous," says Ebersohl. "I'm saying, 'Are you crazy and stupid?' I was like, you're a doctor for children, running an emergency room, and you're posting naked pictures of yourself on the Internet?"

Hampers didn't return phone messages left on his cell phone and his work extension for this story. Neither did his attorney, Harvey Steinberg. His only other phone number was for his soon-to-be ex-wife, who said Hampers would have no comment.

Despite her concerns, Ebersohl started to talk to Hampers on the phone, and he soon invited her to watch him play hockey with an adult league in Littleton. Afterward, they made a date for a Saturday night to go to the Scarlet Ranch, where Ebersohl says she'd been before with her ex-boyfriend. Hampers was pushing to go, Ebersohl says, and she agreed, even though "it wasn't really my thing."

The Scarlet Ranch has been controversial since it opened in 2003 — as much for its clientele as its continued problems with fire marshals ("Swap Talk," June 22, 2006). Located behind an unmarked door at 424 Broadway, the Ranch is split into two sections: a benign bar and dance floor up front and a sex club — complete with private (or not-so-private) cabanas — in the back. There are also group hot tubs, an exhibitionist shower room and porn playing on TVs scattered around the lounge. On Saturday nights, only couples and single women are allowed in — and at a hefty cover price of $80 to $100 per couple.

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