Radecki Proved to Be a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) — Most drug dealers, attired in hoodies and tattered jeans, ply their trade on street corners, darkened alleys, and rundown houses or trailers.
For Thomas Radecki, he proved to be the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing as he did his business in Clarion in a Main Street home, converted to an office, wearing a polo shirt and dockers.
But, the results were the same, and many communities in the region suffered from it. Radecki also operated clinics in DuBois, Seneca, and Kane.
Radecki – the former psychiatrist who was found guilty in April of a dozen charges involving trading prescription narcotics for sex with some of his patients – was sentenced by Clarion County Judge James Arner to 133 to 266 months in state prison late Wednesday afternoon at the Clarion County Courthouse.
When given a chance to speak to the court, Radecki asked for leniency.
“I was committed to my patients. If I had 587,000 pills to sell as the state said, I’d have to be selling them out of a truck on the street,” Radecki said.
The term likely amounts to a life sentence for the 70-year-old, and the law enforcement community was pleasantly surprised.
Many present in the courtroom on Wednesday expected somewhere in the neighborhood of five to 10 years.
Radecki attorney John Troese argued for a lighter sentence, citing his client’s age, his voluntary surrendering of his license to practice medicine, and the fact that his client stated he never intended to break the law and only wanted to help people.
But, 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 as he addressed Radecki.
The verdicts do show the far-reaching impact. Six of the nine victims in this case, Radecki did or tried to have sexual relationships with.
“The defendant said his treatment of patients had nothing to do with the relationships he had with them, but you can’t separate them,” Arner said.
In terms of the amount of Suboxone and Subutex pills that made their way on to the streets of Clarion while Radecki’s practice was open for business, Arner was pointed in his comments.
“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.”
Peck also testified that he and others were making two to three times the amount of drug buys of Subuxone and Subutex than heroin.
Peck said he also felt handcuffed by some of the laws that protect such drug treatment clinics, meant to encourage addicts to get help without the concern of prosecution.
“It’s my job to fix the problems of this community, but there were times I felt I couldn’t do as much as I needed to,” Peck said.
“State Attorney Mark Serge, who prosecuted the case with Marnie Sheehan, said that Radecki knew his clinics had such protections and took advantage of them.
“It’s not that we are against these places and people trying to get help, but Radecki knew the laws that protected them and he took advantage of them to do his business,” Serge said.
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 Clarion County is 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 affects 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.”
Sheehan also argued for a lengthy prison term.
“He victimized so many – his patients, their families, his family, communities in Clarion, Kane, Seneca, and DuBois. They need to be free from his practices. He has shown no remorse for what he’s done,” Sheehan said.
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.
Radecki will serve his term in the Western Diagnostic & Classification Center in Pittsburgh, also known as State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh.
The prison currently houses 1,821 inmates, a little above its operating capacity, and the average age of the inmate is 35.
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