CINCINNATI - A federal grand jury has indicted the former acting chief of staff of the Cincinnati VA Medical Center on three felony counts of distributing a controlled substance.
The indictment follows the completion of a series of investigative reports triggered by whistleblower complaints involving Dr. Barbara Temeck, who became the hospital's highest-ranking medical officer in 2013 and was suspended indefinitely by the Department of Veterans Affairs last week.
The Scripps Washington Bureau and WCPO investigated the whistleblower allegations over several months, resulting in February 2016 report that Dr. Temeck improperly prescribed painkillers for the wife of her former boss. The VA demoted Dr. Temeck to a paperwork job after substantiating the Scripps and WCPO report. Dr. Temeck relinquished her DEA registration in March, 2016.
The indictment alleges Dr. Temeck illegally distributed Valium on two dates in 2012 and 2013 and Hydrocodone in 2013. The charges cited in the indictment could produce a maximum sentence of 25 years, based on terms outlined in the statute.
Dr. Temeck's criminal attorney Ben Dusing said he is reviewing the indictment and will have further comment at a later date.
"Having dealt with the investigation for some time, however, this much is clear: This is a politically-motivated prosecution that has nothing to do with enforcement of the federal criminal laws and everything to do with getting Dr.Temeck out of the VA," Dusing said. "She is being prosecuted because she stood on principle and would not go away."
The attorney representing Dr. Temeck on employment matters told WCPO last week that Dr. Temeck is being singled out for unfair treatment because she objected to management practices that threatened the status quo in Cincinnati.
"We have searched, but have not found, any instance in which a VA doctor or administrator has been disciplined in any manner, let alone terminated or referred for criminal prosecution, for the same or similar conduct," Kenneth Hawley said.