Patients of St. Augustine describe sexual exploitation, over-appointment

On the second day, jurors heard former patients describe their experiences at Dr. Scott Hollington’s Sawgrass Health Clinic in St. Augustine.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. A doctor accused of over-prescribing drugs and sexually exploiting patients appeared in court again Tuesday on the second day of his federal criminal trial.

On the second day, jurors heard former patients describe their experiences at Dr. Scott Hollington’s Sawgrass Health Clinic in St. Augustine.

Hollington pleaded not guilty to 20 counts of conspiracy, drug dealing and obstruction of justice. His lawyer portrayed the doctor as someone dedicated to helping his patients overcome addiction and even paying for their treatment when they couldn’t afford it.

Prosecutors, however, say he exploited vulnerable people and used prescription drugs as a tool to further his sexual goals.

“He’s definitely a poster for ‘Pay for it, you get it,'” one of the former patients told jurors. “I think it’s terrible and I hope no woman has to go through this…again, I have to say.”

Prosecutors showed jurors footage of undercover DEA agents at the Hollington Clinic receiving prescriptions for controlled substances such as Adderall without medical evaluation or demonstrated legal need. One agent asked for “as much” Adderall as he could get, which Hollington relayed in conversation with a nurse practitioner who would eventually fulfill the prescription.

“He said, ‘How much will you give me?'” Hollington told her. Colleague on speakerphone laughs. “It’s okay, I can work with it,” she says.

Hollington did ask the undercover agent to submit a urinalysis, which is a legal requirement before issuing controlled substances, but said, “The truth is, we don’t care what urinalysis results we’re required to do.” The agent left without providing a urine sample.

(Because cameras are not allowed in federal court and evidence in the case is not made public, covert video can only be viewed in the courtroom.)

The former patient stood as a witness for hours, describing Hollington’s actions, which she said did more harm than good. She described Hollington’s office on Ponce de Leon Boulevard as dirty and unprofessional, with a doctor who goes barefoot and works after hours, including appointments on Sundays.

She also testified about Hollington’s inappropriate behavior, including asking if she had a “sugar daddy” or telling her how he lost his virginity. Prosecutors showed jurors a text message he sent her at 10:14 p.m. Saturday night after the meeting, which said, “It was so nice to see you.”

But the witness’ main complaint was the amount of unnecessary medication she said Hollington had prescribed. A recovering drug addict, she recovered while taking methadone. But when she went to Hollington for Adderall, she was also prescribed Klonopin, Prozac, Valium, and Ambien, the latter of which she became addicted to.

“I literally can’t sleep without it,” she testified. “It was an unnecessary addition to what I was already taking.”

When Hollington Falgutter’s lawyer suggested that his treatment may have been a response to her “difficult” medical history as she was a former drug addict, she replied, “My medical history is much more complicated now, after seeing Dr. Hollington.”

Another former patient testified that she first went to Hollington for painkillers, but was prescribed clonazepam (an anti-anxiety drug) and buprenorphine, which is used to help heroin addicts recover from addiction, which she learned much later.

“At the time, I thought it was from pain,” she testified.

This patient told the jurors that Hollington asked to meet her outside his office, and they ended up going to the St. Augustine Outlet Mall and Denny’s before heading to the room he had booked at Best Western. She testified that he had had sexual intercourse with her and gave her some money to cover the costs of subsequent meetings, “because of what we did.”

The trial is expected to last until next week.

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