Hearing Set For Tulsa Dentist Accused Of Exposing Patients To Disease

Tuesday, September 17th 2013, 10:08 pm
By: Tess Maune

He's accused of exposing more than 7,000 patients to hepatitis C and B, and HIV.

Dr. W. Scott Harrington's attorney told us his client is ready to defend himself against the dental board's attempt to take away his license.

The state board of dentistry will decide if Harrington will ever be allowed to practice in the state again. A hearing is scheduled for January to decide that matter. But, this month, Harrington's attorney filed a motion asking that the prosecutor be removed from the case.

The doors at Harrington's office have been locked up tight since March. An investigation by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry reportedly uncovered the oral surgeon was practicing in an unsafe and unsanitary way.

"The allegations that have been made are nothing but allegations," said Harrington's attorney, James Secrest, II.

At the time, Harrington voluntarily surrendered his dental license. Now, six months later, Secrest said his client is ready to fight to get his license back.

4/5/2013 Related Story: Investigator Reveals New Details About Tulsa Dentist's 'Unsafe' Practices

"He misses the practice, he loves the practice, and he hopes one day to be back in the practice," Secrest said.

But before he can get back to practicing, he must go through a hearing process with the state board of dentistry.

One of the lead investigators and prosecutors in the case is board executive director, Susan Rogers. But she's also a witness. Rogers said she plans to remove herself as prosecutor.

"I cannot be the prosecutor and the witness at the same time, there's no question about that," Rogers said.

Earlier this month, Harrington's attorney filed a motion to recuse Rogers. Secrest said Rogers pursued the investigation to substantiate conclusions she'd already formed.

"But before she'd ever been to Dr. Harrington's office, she said she knew what she was going to find. That's certainly not the sign of an objective investigator," Secrest said.

"I have arguments against everything they have in there," Rogers said.

In the motion, Rogers is accused of expressing her personal views to the media, and revealing details of the case designed to destroy Harrington personally and professionally. His attorney calls that inappropriate and unprofessional.

9/4/2013 Related Story: Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Tulsa Dentist In Health Scare

"She should not have run to the press and the public to tell them what her personal views were and to violate the board rules, which says that you're not supposed to disclose the content of an investigation," Secrest said.

Rogers said she didn't reveal anything that wasn't an open record. She said her job is to help protect the public, not the dentists.

"When it is filed in our administrative court, it is an open record, it is not a choice that I have, whether or not I can keep secret or whether I don't, that's is not how I operate," Rogers said.

Rogers says her attorney will be filing a motion to recuse Harrington's attorney, citing ethical conflicts.

"I think they're being unprofessional," she said. "All this is, is motions, it's allegations."

Harrington's attorney also asked that the president of the board be recused from January's hearing, due to his involvement as a review panel member, early in the case.

We've also gotten word of a very big announcement that's expected to come sometime Wednesday. Our source tells us that announcement will bring resolution to the case.