Hempfield veterinarian accused of removing client list from animal hospital
A Westmoreland County veterinarian was ordered Thursday to stand trial on charges of illegally copying and removing a patient client list from a Hempfield animal hospital as she prepared to change jobs.
Katherine M. Marraccini, 26, of Penn Township dabbed her eyes with a tissue and was comforted by family after Hempfield District Judge Mark Mansour ruled there is sufficient evidence for her to stand trial on felony charges of unlawful duplication and computer trespass.
The complaints filed by state police in Greensburg are third-degree felonies that could result in a sentence of between 3.5 and 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines if she is convicted.
Marraccini was employed as a veterinarian at Pittsburgh East Animal Hospital, which has clinics in Monroeville and Hempfield, and was planning to go work at a competing animal clinic in Unity when the incident occurred this year, Trooper Christopher Cole alleges.
The clinic’s owner, Dr. Jeffrey Pope, testified during the hearing that Marraccini had signed a “confidentiality” agreement when she was hired in 2017 and printing and removing the client list “definitely” violated the agreement.
“Nobody’s ever gotten approval to review and print out the whole list. Only one person can remove the whole list,” Long said, pointing to himself, under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Adam Barr.
Cole said in court documents that Pope explained to investigators that the list — containing information on the animal hospital’s 9,740 customers — “represented Pope’s entire client base and his life’s work.”
Jennifer Jendrasik, an office receptionist at Hempfield, testified that on April 3 she noticed the office copy machine spewing “large amounts of copies” and inquired with Marraccini, who said she was attempting to retrieve information on a patient, but had apparently printed the entire list.
Jendrasik testified Pope called at the same time and she told him about Marraccini generating a large amount of copies. When she informed Pope that Marraccini had carried the pile of paperwork to her vehicle, Pope called state police.
Trooper Joseph Martin testified that when he arrived at the hospital, Marraccini retrieved the documents out of her car and turned them over to state police.
“She told me she was leaving the clinic and wanted to use the list as her backup plan,” Martin testified.
Martin said Marraccini was escorted off the premises.
Marraccini’s attorney, Adrian Roe of Pittsburgh, pleaded not guilty on behalf of Marraccini.
He argued that Mansour should dismiss the charges because Marraccini was permitted access to the records in the office and the confidentiality clause did not “specifically” say she couldn’t remove the list from the office.
“The confidentiality agreement is vague and ambiguous. There was no evidence presented here that the list was copied for an illegal purpose,” Roe said.
He declined to comment after the hearing.
Mansour disagreed and ordered Marraccini to stand trial on the charges.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .