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Archive for Sunday, March 24, 2002

Pharmacist lacks explanation for why he collected blood

March 24, 2002

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— A pharmacist who pleaded guilty to fraudulently drawing blood from 16 women has yet to explain why he collected the blood and what he did with it.

Corey Penner, 29, entered his guilty plea Friday to 16 counts of misdemeanor battery. Under a plea agreement, 15 of the 31 original charges were dismissed.

Penner's attorney, Jim Gillmore, has said Penner can't explain why he took the blood.

Harvey County Attorney Matt Treaster said he'll recommend Penner serve two years of probation because of the agreement and Penner's previously clean criminal record.

Treaster said he was satisfied with the result, but called it "one of the weirdest cases I've been involved in."

Penner said he drew blood, using packaged syringes, from about 55 people during the past several years, Treaster said. Penner claimed to be drawing the blood for a medical study, but no such study existed.

Authorities pursued charges involving only more recent incidents.

The victims willingly gave the blood and some received up to $20 for it. A small amount of blood, probably less than a vial, was drawn from each person. No license is required to draw blood in Kansas.

Treaster said the crimes resulted from "a sort of arm fetish." But he said the question of what motivated Penner may be answered only through the mental-health assistance Penner has agreed to undergo.

Penner, his family and his donors have declined to comment.

Penner's sentencing was set April 19. The maximum possible punishment would be eight years in the county jail and $16,000 in fines.

Treaster said authorities met Tuesday with about 40 people involved in the case. He said some wanted the charges dropped and others wanted Penner to go to jail "for as long as he could."

But Treaster said, "The general consensus was they wanted him to get help.

"They're more upset with him lying to them than him actually sticking them with a needle."

Part of the plea agreement requires Penner to submit to a blood test to make sure he is not infected and to reassure donors.

The agreement also requires Penner to meet with donors as part of a reconciliation program.

Penner has been suspended from his pharmacy job at a Dillons store and has agreed not to practice pharmacy while the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy investigates. The board is scheduled to meet April 4 to discuss the status of Penner's license, which has been suspended.

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