Monday, March 21, 2011

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Former Winkler County Hospital Administrator Pleads Guilty, Must Serve Jail Time

ODESSA Former Winkler County Memorial Hospital administrator Stan Wiley pleaded guilty today to abuse of official capacity. The defendant’s guilty plea stems from his decision to fire two nurses after they filed an anonymous complaint with the Texas Medical Board against one of the hospital’s physicians.

Visiting Judge Robert H. Moore III sentenced Wiley to 30 days in the Winkler County Jail for his improper conduct. Today’s plea deal was reached after the defendant agreed to cooperate with the State’s prosecution of three remaining defendants in this case. The Texas Attorney General’s Office is handling the case as district attorney pro tem, as the Winkler County District Attorney recused himself from these proceedings.

Today’s guilty plea stems from the Office of the Attorney General’s investigation of official oppression, retaliatory conduct, and misuse of official information by four Winkler County officials: Wiley, Sheriff Robert Roberts, County Attorney Scott Tidwell, and former Winkler County Memorial Hospital physician Dr. Rolando Arafiles.

In 2009, two longtime Memorial Hospital nurses filed an anonymous complaint with the Texas Medical Board alleging that Dr. Arafiles violated state regulations governing doctors. According to investigators with the Attorney General’s Office, after the medical board contacted Dr. Arafiles about the complaint, he asked the Winkler County sheriff to investigate who filed the anonymous complaint. Sheriff Roberts, who is Dr. Arafiles’ close friend, patient, and alleged business partner, had the Sheriff’s Department utilize official law enforcement channels to obtain a copy of the confidential complaint. As a result, Dr. Arafiles and other officials were able to determine the identities of the nurses who filed the complaint identities that would have been protected from disclosure if law enforcement officials had not misused their position to obtain confidential information.

On Jan. 13, a Winkler County grand jury indicted Dr. Arafiles on two counts each of misuse of official information and retaliation for allegedly asking the Winkler County sheriff to investigate the two nurses. The grand jury also indicted Sheriff Roberts and County Attorney Tidwell. Each faces two counts of misuse of official information, two counts of retaliation and two counts of official oppression.

Under today’s plea agreement, Wiley pleaded guilty to one abuse of official capacity charge. He was indicted on Jan. 13 and charged with two felony retaliation counts.