A Texas county sheriff was found guilty for his role in retaliating against two whistle-blowing nurses at 19-bed Winkler County Memorial Hospital in Kermit, Texas, according to the state attorney general's office, which prosecuted the case.
Texas sheriff guilty of retaliation against nurse whistle-blowers
A jury in Midland County convicted Winkler County Sheriff Robert Roberts on two felony counts of each of misuse of official information and retaliation and on two misdemeanor charges of official oppression. Roberts was sentenced to four years of felony probation, will serve 100 days in jail on each of the four felony counts, to be served concurrently, and pay a $6,000 fine on the four felony and two misdemeanor counts, according to the attorney general. Roberts will be removed from office and surrender his peace officer's license.
Roberts was one of four individuals charged in the matter in which the two nurses were charged with a felony count of misusing government information and fired by the hospital after anonymously reporting a physician, Dr. Rolando Arafiles, to the state medical board.
Trials for Arafiles and County Attorney Scott Tidwell are pending.
Stan Wiley, the fourth person involved and a former administrator of Winkler County Memorial, pleaded guilty in March to abuse of official capacity for his role in the firing of two nurses in exchange for his cooperation. Winkler County Memorial this month announced it had hired William Ernst Jr. to replace Wiley as administrator, according to Preferred Management Corp., the Shawnee, Okla., company hired to run the 19-bed hospital. Ernst, 52, most recently worked as director of support services and physician practice operations at Socorro General Hospital in Socorro, N.M., according to Preferred.
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