In Part 2 we left off with Winkler County Sheriff Robert L. Roberts obtaining search warrants four our two heroin’s computers where he found a copy of the anonymous complaint filed with the Texas Medical Board against Dr. Arafiles. The Sheriff continued his pattern of swift and aggressive pursuit of the nurses, scheduling a meeting with them both on May 27, 2009. Roberts was able to learn directly from them that they had indeed composed a letter of complaint against Arafiles and mailed it to the board. Furthermore, Mitchell and Galle detailed their good faith beleive of the specific violations of federal and state laws committed by Winkler County Memorial Hospital in a letter to Sheriff Roberts
. The letter further detailed their belief that Roberts, as the County’s chief law enforcement officer, was the appropriate official to report such violations of law to for investigation of health care fraud.
By June 1, 2009 Winkler County Memorial Hospital and it’s administrators were aware that Mitchell and Galle had complained to the Texas Medical Board about Dr. Arafiles, and that they had made a complaint to law enforcement alleging health care fraud by Winkler County and Winkler County Memorial Hospital. Only Sheriff Roberts knew of, and was unconcerned about the anonymity of, the Medical Board complaint and had knowledge of the health care fraud allegations. It is hard to imagine what other source the County and the hospital could have had which provided them with this information mere days after it was fact. In keeping with a seemingly epidemic disdain for the rule of law and rampant abuse of power, Ann Mitchell and Vickilyn Galle were terminated from their decades of employment at the hospital and with the County that very June 1. Stan Wiley, Administrator of the Winkler County Memorial Hospital carried out the termination, even while likely knowing that his two soon to be former employees had acted as the law commonly proscribed and possibly demanded: reporting issues of patient safety to a licensing authority and reporting issues of health care fraud to law enforcement.
So, why were Mitchell and Galle fired? One need not be a conspiracy theory lover or imaginative day dreamer to come to the obvious and only logical conclusion: retaliation. The two were fired 3 business days after meeting with the good Sheriff Blabbermouth and entrusting him to do his sworn duty after an allegation of a crime was made. Instead the alleged perpetrator of the crime was informed of the allegations, an investigation was never initiated, and those reporting the crime were fired by their long time employer-turned alleged criminal. Neither the hospital, County or Wiley provided any specific grounds for termination or any written explanation or finding of fact, not did they hold any hearings or afford the nurses the opportunity to request a hearing or to be heard in any manner regarding their firing. They were summarily dismissed without explanation and with no opportunity to contest the action. Winkler County attorney Tidwell confirmed that no grievance to the termination was allowed.
Fired without explanation from their life’s work and employer, the nightmare was only beginning for Mitchell and Galle, and the injustice thus far was nothing compared to what was to come. Ten days later County Attorney Tidwell appeared before a Grand Jury and based on the testimony of the sole witness, Sheriff Robert Roberts, he persuaded the jury to indict both nurses on a third degree felony charge of Misuse of Official Information in filing the Medical Board Complaint against Arafiles. The allegation was that the two had obtained information available to them because of their employment with the county (termed ‘Official Information’), and then used that Official Information for a non-governmental purpose when forwarding it to a third party with the intent to harm Dr. Arafiles. If that sounds like an inexplicably irresponsible interpretation of the actions of Mitchell and Galle, even appearing purposely, utterly avoidant of intelligent evaluation, this is because that’s the only plausible way it was made. I would have love to have been a fly on the wall when THAT charge was discussed and settled upon by Tidwell, and wonder if he did it with a straight face. I would expect either to have been appalled at a lack of understanding of the law, or the blatant disregard for it…whichever of the two was the basis for such a monumental and shaming absurdity. With either the implication is equally appalling and those responsible proved their unworthiness for public service at the very least, and their deserving of the law holding them to account for their actions…well, also in the very least.
In Part 1: The Beginning
In Part 2: The Quack, his buddy the Sheriff and the Crooked Arm of the Law.
In Part 3: Kangaroo Grand Jury, Indictment, You’re Fired.
In Part 4: Explanation of the Charges, Prosecution Team Shenanigans Exposed
Tags: scott m. tidwell
, stan wiley
, Robert Roberts