Scandal may hurt rape cases in Oklahoma

BY SONYA COLBERG Modified: September 13, 2009 at 12:03 am •  Published: September 13, 2009
&q
uot;If it was evidence that was questionable, or they didn’t have accurate evidence, then what most judges or DAs say is, ‘Go get me better evidence, or we’re not going to make any charges.’”

Big factor?
Attorney General Drew Edmondson contends Scroggins’ alleged drug use isn’t key now, though Earls has been indicted by a grand jury and could go to trial on lewd and indecent acts allegations. The alleged victims are the same girl involved in the rape and her brother.

"It might explain why the prosecutors at the time didn’t get the quality of interview and examination that we subsequently were able to achieve,” Edmondson said. "If this were a DNA case, it certainly might have had an impact. But I don’t see it having any impact now.”

He said his staff probably won’t seek a new examiner should Earls be tried because the new allegation is lewd molestation and no DNA evidence is needed.

If District Attorney Miller had known about the alleged drug issues before the plea agreement in the first case, he probably would have gotten someone else to do another exam, Mills said.

Miller didn’t return calls for comment. Mills said Miller told him about Scroggins in mid-July, after the plea bargain had been struck.

Problems may have begun in 2005
The board’s complaint alleges:


• Scroggins began abusing hydrocodone cough medicine prescribed for her children in or around 2005.


• For pain associated with pregnancy, Scroggins began using another painkiller, propoxyphene, and also received 37 prescriptions for hydrocodone between late March 2008 and late July 2008. At times, she ordered cough syrup and Lortab on the pretext she was ordering it for her clinic.


• From April 2007 through February 2009, she fraudulently obtained prescription drugs through her personal doctor and also her supervising pediatric doctor at the Warren Clinic in McAlester. She ended up with numerous prescriptions written for her children and her husband. She admitted to investigators that, in some instances, the drugs were for her use.

Scroggins has completed two rounds of rehabilitation treatment, records show. She was most recently discharged Aug. 9.

She graduated with distinction in December 2000 from the University of Oklahoma with a master’s in health sciences. She took many additional hours of special medical training, including courses on childhood infections and substance abuse, and received special recognition in surgery.

She has left Oklahoma and could not be reached for comment.

She faces a hearing next week before the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision on 21 alleged violations.


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Physician’s assistants

By Oklahoma law, physician’s assistants may perform a wide range of supervised duties:

→Physical exams

→Diagnostic procedures

→Suturing

→Assisting doctors with patients showing more complex illnesses

→Performing procedures in response to life-threatening situations

ALSO ...
→Physician’s assistants must be supervised by a physician, who may be in contact by phone, fax or from somewhere in the office.

→Designed to address physician’s assistants who work in rural areas, supervising physicians are required to be on site at least half a day per week.

Sources: State of Oklahoma Physician Assistant Act;

Lyle Kelsey, Oklahoma State Board of Medical

Licensure and Supervision executive director

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