Source: The Associated Press
Date: 10 March 2003

Doctor convicted in drugs-for-sex trial

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A doctor traded prescription painkillers for sex with patients, a federal jury found.

The jury convicted Dr. Bernard Rottschaefer, 60, of Plum, of writing 153 illegal prescriptions for painkillers. The jury also decided that he should forfeit his medical license and lose his office. He was acquitted on 55 other counts.

"This prosecution of a medical doctor, who illegally prescribed powerful, addictive narcotics to patients in return for sexual favors, demonstrates our commitment to aggressively prosecute any health care provider who abuses a position of public trust," said U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan.

In testimony, Rottschaefer denied trading drugs for sex, but five female addicts testified during the trial that they had sex with Rottschaefer to get prescriptions for narcotics, usually oxycodone in the form of OxyContin.

Rottschaefer refused comment after the verdict and his attorney only said that he would consider an appeal. Jurors also declined comment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Houghton showed that Rottschaefer wrote prescriptions for patients and refilled their prescriptions when they returned with stories that they had run out or lost them.

Some of the women required hospital treatment for drug overdoses, Houghton said. Rottschaefer had also testified that he didn't know they were addicted.

Rottschaefer was arrested in June after being indicted by a federal grand jury on 208 counts of illegally prescribing drugs to patients. Rottschaefer's former medical assistant, Diane Wisniewski, said she informed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration about his activities from 2000 until he fired her in August.

U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster continued Rottschaefer's nominal bond, but ordered him to surrender his passport. Sentencing was scheduled for June

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