In a turn of events, the ongoing federal trial of St Augustine's Doctor Scott Hollington revealed that he was not only using his clinic as a front for overprescribing drugs but also exchanging drugs for sexual favors.
The witnesses that were called to testify against him have now spoken of how the addiction medicine doctor used their requirement of prescriptions as a way to have intercourse with them. The case has become a Sex-for-Drugs trial due to the overwhelming evidence brought to light after the court case went live.
Hollington has been charged with at least 20 counts of unlawful dealings of drugs with clients. He will likely be found guilty due to the insurmountable evidence the prosecution has against him. He currently faces up to 20 years imprisonment for each offense.
As a part of St Augustine's medical community, the 58-year-old doctor was held in high regard due to the nature of his work. However, thanks to an anonymous tip-off received by the St. Johns County sheriff's office earlier this year, revealing the true nature of Hollington's sawgrass health center, law enforcement quickly uncovered a drug operation in the addiction clinic.
The Federal Government had sent five undercover agents to investigate the allegations, and all of them could identify several malpractices being followed in the center.
According to a report of the fillings done at court, the prosecution will primarily depend on the testimonies of five patients and all of the undercover DEA agents. Each witness has directly interacted with the doctor and has been offered drugs that aren't part of their prescriptions or provided medications in exchange for sex.
Some agents have also uncovered that screening protocols and rightful documentation of visits were not in place at the center. And the doctor rarely performed any physical examinations before providing the medications.
In a statement made by David Martin, the DEA Diversion Investigator who led the inquiry, Hollington was providing prescriptions for patients who did not display any medical need for the medicine. These included controlled substances like Xanax and Adderall, amongst many others.
Even with the overwhelming number of witnesses claiming the same thing, Hollington pleaded not guilty on all 20 counts of drug distribution, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy.
Curtis Falgatter, the representative for the doctor, in his arguing statement, mentioned that all the drugs that were prescribed were legitimate. He also argued that the allegations of exchanging sex for drugs were only "smoke and mirrors."
They have yet to put on a defense and will not be calling any witnesses to the stand. Hollington's lawyer has provided statements in court claiming that the doctor only gave medicine to addicts to stop them from procuring them illegally. He mentioned that these illegal drugs are lethal and will, in fact, cause more harm to the patient if obtained from non-authorized sources.
An ex-patient has shared details of her experience at the center in court. The details provided by her shed light on how Hollington could use a patient's situation to gain sexual favors from them in exchange for medication.
She said that the doctor used her vulnerability as a means to sleep with her. He was aware that she had a history of drug use, sexual exploitation and that she was destitute. All of these were disclosed when Falgatter began a lengthy interrogation during the trial. The witness called the doctor "a monster" and stormed out, saying, "You'll have to arrest me, I'm done."
After the eventual return of the witness during a courtroom break, Falgatter commented that he had never encountered such hostility in a court hearing during his career as a lawyer. He told the judge, "There needs to be some decorum, and with all due respect, I need your help with that."
Although Judge Timothy Corrigan agreed with Falgatter about the actions of the witness crossing the line, he did mention that the emotions expressed by her were legitimate. Due to the prolonged questioning and the witness's visible discomfort, the outcome was expected and not staged to interfere with the cross-examination.
Many other witnesses have provided similar accounts of how the doctor took advantage of their condition and tried to force himself on them. One witness was so terrified to return she had to take an escort to ensure she was not harmed. She mentioned taking her stepfather for her second consultation. However, when they left the clinic, her father was also given suboxone and Valium. This confused her, as she said, "My stepdad has never taken a pain pill in his life."
The staged visits by FBI agents will also confirm how unethical Holligton's handling of his clients was. There is proof that the doctor claimed that drug tests were unnecessary and did not care about the results. His center also did not collect urine samples; when they did, the samples were not tested.
Dr. Gene Kennedy expert witness for the government also took the stand and called the actions of Dr. Scott Hollington "a violation of everything" that one would expect in medical practice and mentioned that it was "not the practice of medicine."
As the trial reaches its climax, the investigation team says the doctor was not working alone. Seven registered staff nurses and several mid-level practitioners were identified as co-conspirators in the drugs scandal. Speaking to WJXT, the doctor said that this entire trial was a "misunderstanding," and he was unaware of the reasons behind the accusations.
With all of these allegations and physical evidence pointing to the doctor providing "controlled substances" to clients, it is unlikely that he will win the trial. Along with facing jail time, Hollington will most likely lose his medical license, which, according to the indictment he received, is "alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense," as per an official statement.