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Former Cincinnati VA administrator to plead not guilty to drug charges

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Posted at 4:32 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 16:32:11-04

CINCINNATI - The defense attorney for a suspended Cincinnati VA official said at a news conference Monday that three prescriptions identified in Dr. Barbara Temeck’s indictment last week were “medically appropriate” and legal.

“The prescriptions were written,” Ben Dusing said. “It doesn’t necessarily follow that they were inappropriately written.”

Dr. Temeck is the former acting chief of staff of the Cincinnati VA Medical Center who was demoted last February after the VA announced that it had substantiated allegations that she improperly prescribed painkillers for the wife of her former boss.

Those allegations were among dozens detailed by the Scripps News Washington Bureau and WCPO starting in February 2016. But they do not amount to criminal conduct, Dusing said Monday. Dr. Temeck will plead not guilty to felony counts for three prescriptions in 2012 and 2013. The arraignment has not been scheduled. 

“They were medically appropriate and that will be the proof at trial and we’ll defend on that basis,” he said. “I’m not going to get into the proof at this time, but emphatically … she did not violate the federal criminal laws in writing any of those three prescriptions."

Dusing said after “extensive conversations” with the U.S. Attorney’s office, he’s convinced Dr. Temeck could have avoided an indictment if she agreed to “go away.”

But instead, Dusing alleged she is being prosecuted for “speaking truth to power” and challenging a status quo that enabled surgical staffers from the University of Cincinnati to waste millions of dollars at the Cincinnati VA.

“Three instances of a controlled substance more than five years ago?" he said. "What are we doing here? Because it’s not enforcing the federal criminal laws."