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Age Doesn’t Matter: Superior Court Upholds Sentence of Thomas Radecki
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Thomas Radecki, the former Clarion doctor who was found guilty nearly two years of having inappropriate sexual relationships with female patients in exchange for pills, may spend the rest of his life in prison after a state Superior Court panel affirmed his sentence on Wednesday.
According to court documents, the panel of President Judge John T. Bender, Judge Judith F. Olson, and Judge Victor P. Stabile affirmed Clarion County President Judge James Arner’s sentence of 11 years, one month to 22 years, two months.
Radecki, who will turn 72 on March 5, will be at least 81 before he could possibly be released. He is currently serving his sentence at SCI Mercer.
Radecki was found guilty on April 26, 2016 on felony charges that included the distribution of controlled substances by a doctor and being part of a corrupt organization.
In his appeal, Radecki argued that his sentence was too long because of his age, he wasn’t allowed to call one witness, and another witness against him shouldn’t have been permitted to testify.
According to a pennlive.com article, Judge Stabile’s opinion indicated that Radecki didn’t deserve a shorter sentence because of his age.
Radecki ran four clinics in Clarion, DuBois, Seneca, and Kane that were supposed to treat people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers. Radecki traded suboxone, used to treat those addicted to opiates, for sex with several of his female patients. One of them even was pregnant by Radecki and another who came to Radecki for psychiatric counseling, left an addict after he prescribed her suboxone for a shoulder problem another physician was treating.
“The individual costs were staggering,” State Attorney Mark Serge said at the time. “He used his practice to exploit nine vulnerable patients. When one of his patients came to him, she had no drug problems, she just needed some psychiatric help and she left an addict because he prescribed suboxone for a shoulder problem she had, but that was already being dealt with by another physician.”
Radecki faced more than two dozen felony counts of having inappropriate sexual relationships with female patients and distributing controlled substances.
In 2011 and 2012, Radecki was investigated by a number of law enforcement agencies in reference to his prescribing, dispensing, and billing practices while operating four the offices.
In Stabile’s opinion, he dismissed Radecki’s arguments that a victim shouldn’t have testified about her lawsuit because it showed Radecki tried to buy her silence about his illegal acts.
Stabile also concluded that Radecki’s comments about one woman’s weight demonstrated Radecki’s criteria for targeting victims. Stabile noted that Radecki would hire patients with whom he was having sex.
State prosecutors presented evidence during Radecki’s trial that indicated he had dispensed more than half a million opioid painkillers during a short time from his four clinics.
After Radecki’s sentencing, Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron said Radecki’s opening of his clinic was like an addiction bomb went off in Clarion County.
“All communities have drug problems, but I kept getting asked why is Clarion County so bad?” Aaron said. “His practice opened years ago, and we had the majority of our drug activity increase dramatically afterward.”
“We are still dealing with the effects of Radecki’s practice, the many addicts Radecki created have morphed into those who use methamphetamines, even though we were able to severely limit the supply of Subutex and Suboxone. They went to Radecki for help and they became addicts, in my opinion.”
At the time of Radecki’s sentencing, Judge Arner felt very justified in handing down the lengthy sentences.
“It’s unbelievable to me that you can’t admit what you were doing, and it’s unacceptable,” Arner said.
“You knew what people were doing, and you took no steps to control those patients. You were making a lot of money, having your relationships with patients, and you were unconcerned about the effects on the community,” Arner said.
And, it wasn’t the first time Radecki had operated outside the law.
Clarion Borough Police Detective William H. Peck, and the drug task force coordinator who made drug buys as part of an undercover operation, testified prior to sentencing about what was going on in the 200 block of Main Street after Radecki opened his drug treatment clinic.
“It wasn’t long after his practice opened we started getting word of things going on in the parking lot, needles being found,” Peck said. “The first buy I made, on February 8, 2011, was from a person who is no longer alive.”
Detective Peck also testified that he and others were making two to three times the amount of drug buys of suboxone and subutex than heroin.
Radecki also engaged in similar practices in Illinois a quarter-century ago.
According to previously published reports, the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation revoked Radecki’s medical license on March 31, 1992, after the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board found that Radecki had involved himself in unprofessional conduct with a patient.
According to documents, Radecki – who was initially licensed to practice medicine in Illinois in 1979 and board-certified in 1980 – had engaged in a 10-day consensual sexual relationship with a former female patient in October 1991.
“In 1990, a female patient, who was interested in trying an accommodation medication for alcoholism, approached (Radecki). After about a month of taking the medication, the patient ceased taking it and ceased being an active patient of (Radecki). Approximately a year and a half later…(Radecki) and the patient had three consensual sexual encounters over the course of ten days, and on the eleventh day, the patient notified the Illinois State Board of Medicine of her relationship with (Radecki).”
Radecki’s licenses to practice medicine and prescribe controlled substances were subsequently suspended for a minimum of five years, during which time Radecki was ordered to undergo psychological evaluation known as a Special Purpose Examination.
Radecki received a cease and desist order from the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation in 1996 after the board said he held himself out as a physician and was attaching the title “M.D.” to his name. The board said the order arose as a result of Radecki’s attempts to form a surrogacy and egg-donation business.
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