Radecki Takes Stand in Defense Thursday; Admits to Relationship with Patient

RADECKI-ThomasCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Testimony resumed in the trial of Thomas Edward Radecki Thursday at the Clarion County Courthouse.

Radecki, 70, of Clarion, a former psychiatrist and substance abuse doctor, is facing more than two dozen felony counts for having inappropriate sexual relationships with female patients and distributing controlled substances.

Radecki was investigated by a number of law enforcement agencies in 2011 and 2012 in reference to his prescribing, dispensing, and billing practices while operating four offices, including Suboxone maintenance programs in Clarion, Seneca, DuBois, and Kane. Suboxone is used to treat addiction to heroin and other opiates such as morphine.

The offices were closed in June 2012 after the State Attorney General’s office investigated Radecki’s practices.

Radecki spent all morning and afternoon on the stand as his attorney, John Troese, questioned him. Radecki – at times – seemed to contradict himself in terms of his relationships with some of his patients.

Radecki initially testified that he had no relationship with one patient, Chelsea, who he saw for 1 1/2 years.

Radecki said the patient had complained of living with her parents, and he offered to move her into his home in Clarion.

“I shouldn’t have done that; it’s not illegal, but I had her move in. Within a few weeks, I decided to show a romantic interest in her. She said she loved me, and I told her I loved her,” Radecki testified.

“She wasn’t trying to get pregnant, but she did, and neither one of us had a problem with it. My hope was to marry (her).”

“I’ve been fully faithful to my wife for two decades, but we were talking about divorce before all this, and we had a verbal agreement.”

According to Radecki, the woman moved out after his practice closed in June 2012.

Radecki then talked about another female patient, Amy.

“I never had a relationship with her outside of the office, but I did kiss her and hug her. It was total recklessness on my part. But, I had no interest in leaving Chelsea.”

“At first, I didn’t admit my relationship with Chelsea because I didn’t want to embarrass her, but once I found out she had admitted it, I readily admitted it (to investigators).”

After concluding testimony about his relationships with female patients, Troese asked Radecki about his drug purchases.

Radecki explained that after he became certified and opened his Suboxone programs, he was limited to treating 30 patients. After the first year, he was permitted to increase it to 100.

Radecki testified that he bought 261 bottles of morphine in 2011, a total of 101,000 dosages. At that time, he claimed he had five physicians working with him in his maintenance programs, and by the end of 2011, it was between six and eight.

According to records at Cardinal Health, Radecki had ordered approximately 600,000 doses of Subutex. That made him the largest buyer of the drug that year.

Radecki disputed the state’s numbers of dosage units.

“I don’t know where they came up with that number. It looks like they added up numbers for no other reason than to make me look bad. It’s not fair,” Radecki said.

Radecki also testified about the large amount of cash, between $26,000.00 and 28,000.00, that he kept in a safe in his residence.

“When my wife and I were talking about divorcing, I set aside some money, so I would have some. I had given her money, but I wanted to make sure I had some set aside. I wasn’t using it; I was just storing it there.”

Before the lunch break, Radecki spent time explaining how he operated his practice and how he believed he had a responsibility to his clients.

“I felt a duty to the community to accept as many clients as possible. At first, there wasn’t anyone else for them to go to. I was actively seeking other physicians to come to the area to help these people. It’s not nice to see people dying,” Radecki said as his voice rose, and he became emotional.

After the break, Radecki explained how he decided to start his Suboxone programs and that eventually other physicians became involved.

“It isn’t easy to get people to come to this area. We had one nurse practitioner come into the area,” Radecki said. “But no one has ever accused me of treating someone who didn’t need help.”

Radecki also testified that few, if any, of his patients were arrested while in treatment.

Testimony is expected to continue at 9:00 a.m. on Friday.

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