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Sex with patients nets time in prison

| Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Dr. Tahir Usman Mir was sentenced to prison on Sept. 13, 2013, for trading pain medication prescriptions for sexual favors with a patient.

An Indiana County doctor was scolded by a judge Friday for “victimizing” drug-addicted patients he was supposed to be rehabilitating.

Dr. Tahir Usman Mir, 62, of Indiana was sentenced to serve seven to 15 years in a state prison by President Judge William Martin following his conviction in June by a jury for trading prescription painkillers for sexual favors from women.

Noting that Mir on Friday professed his innocence after he was convicted of four violations of the Controlled Substances Drugs Devices and Cosmetics Act for writing unlawful prescriptions to women who accepted them in exchange for sex, Martin told Mir he should take responsibility for his acts, which were felt throughout the community.

“You took advantage of the situation you were in and threw ethics to the wind for your own personal gratification. Evidence at trial showed you sought your patients out ... and victimized these women,” Martin said.

Mir formerly operated the Walk-In Clinic at 7 S. Fifth St. in Indiana.

Jurors found Mir guilty of providing prescriptions to two women for painkillers including oxycodone and hydrocodone between December 2008 until October 11, 2011, when drug agents from the state Attorney General's Office raided the clinic and an upstairs apartment where the sex acts with women took place.

Mir had argued that the women needed the drugs and that the sex acts were “affairs.”

The investigation into Mir's practice began in 2009 when residents, local police, area pharmacists and regional health insurance companies complained about Mir's “excessive narcotic prescribing practices.”

“We believe justice was served here today,” Deputy Attorney General Mark Serge said.

Serge successfully argued Friday for an enhanced sentence to be imposed against Mir, making him ineligible for early parole because of good behavior, although he has no prior criminal record.

Serge summoned the lead investigator, state Attorney General agent Julie Wilson, to testify about the large quantities of prescriptions pills involved. Indiana Police Officer John Scherf also testified under questioning by Serge that Mir's clinic was within 1,000 feet of Horace Mann Elementary School.

The sentence enhancement designation granted by Martin means that Mir must serve at least seven years of the sentence, Serge said.

One of two women who testified at trial against Mir appeared at the sentencing, telling Martin that the doctor deserved a lengthy sentence. She said Mir's actions exacerbated her drug addiction.

“He took advantage of my weakness for a particular drug for his own personal gratification ... causing not only myself, but my entire family so much personal pain,” she said.

The woman told Martin that she has been “clean” from drugs for more than a year since Mir's arrest and has found a job, and her family has accepted her back into their lives.

Mir, a native of Pakistan, was licensed to practice medicine in 1977. He surrendered his license after his arrest.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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