But in Georgia , where the law gives the medical board the discretion to license anyone it sees fit, he was back in practice two years after leaving prison. More than a dozen years later, that decision still leads some to wonder what the board was thinking.
I could argue it both ways. Most states leave decisions to their medical boards and the doctors who dominate them. And that has allowed dozens of physicians to hold licenses despite convictions for sexual assault, sexual battery of patients, child pornography and other sex-related crimes, the AJC found.
Even in the states where laws bar felons from practicing, there are differences in what is considered disqualifying. Minnesota permanently bars all physicians convicted of felony sex offenses. California requires it only for registered felony sex offenders. In Michigan , permanent revocation is automatic only when doctors are guilty of criminal sexual misconduct involving patients.
Aaron Haslam, the former executive director of the Ohio medical board, said boards should have some flexibility in dealing with criminal matters — but not in cases where drugs are swapped for sex.
In more than half, the physicians were allowed to continue practicing. Miriam Duke, one of the prosecutors in the case, said the forfeiture, while not legally binding on the Georgia medical board, should have sent the message that the government believed Dekle had no business being a doctor. I have absolutely nothing to say to you.
His familiarity with the community and his reputation for treating people regardless of their circumstances helped him build a practice that quickly grew to include offices in both Cairo and nearby Thomasville.
In , just a year after opening his practice, Dekle was indicted by a Grady County grand jury on four counts of unlawfully writing prescriptions for Demerol and morphine.
Two related charges dealt with his record-keeping. According to court records, the DA, Gilbert J. Murrah, based his decision on the fact that Dekle had agreed to a medical board order requiring him to surrender his permit to write prescriptions for controlled substances. Murrah, now practicing law in Bainbridge, did not respond to repeated inquiries from the AJC. In our case, we laid out the whys and the wherefores.
Andrew Dekle practiced when he was indicted on counts. Dorsey quickly moved to an upstairs room that had a bed, a desk and a filing cabinet. In the cabinet, he found a box of condoms. He also found a box with two photo albums. In the albums, he found a cache of photos and negatives. Plotting it all on a spreadsheet, he found that Dekle had prescribed immense amounts of addictive drugs for some of the women and had started doing it just two years after the medical board order stemming from the indictment was lifted.
One of the women who stood out was Sheridan, then living in Greeley, Colo. But as his trial played out over eight days in the old federal building in Thomasville, it quickly became apparent that the real story was something else: Then using her married name, Cindy Beasley, she described for the jury how she consumed all 50 of the Xanax tablets from one prescription, hoping it would kill her.
But her husband got her to the hospital in time for the pills to be pumped from her stomach. When she woke up and realized her suicide attempt had failed, she was so angry she pulled the IV tubes from her arms.
Special to the AJC Cindy Sheridan reads a passage she wrote in her journal back in about her suicidal thoughts when she was addicted to drugs.
I was on pills all the time, and so I tried to just end it. Another woman testified that Dekle gave her injections that combined a painkiller, Nubain, and a sedative, Vistaril, if she had sex with him or allowed him to take photos of her.
On one such occasion, she said, she posed for the married doctor after he called and said he had a roll of film from Christmas he wanted to finish. In his testimony, Dekle acknowledged having sex with Sheridan and other female patients as well as taking their photos.
But he insisted those acts were unrelated to the prescriptions, which he described as medically justified. Community support When Dekle was sentenced, his supporters flooded U.
S District Judge W. Atlanta psychiatrist Gene Abel , who had been treating Dekle, testified that sending him to prison would halt the progress he had made. The board weighs in Georgia medical board records show Dekle voluntarily surrendered his license after he was sentenced to prison. When he initially applied for reinstatement after his release, he was rejected, but the board changed its stance six months later.
Board records show he complied. The current chairman, Dr. A recap of our year-long investigation. More from this series.