Arafiles Takes a Deal that Includes Jail Time 11/07/11 Updated: 10:00 pm
CBS 7 News
November 7, 2011
Kermit, Texas - Doctor Rolando Arafiles, the man at the center of the Winkler County nurses scandal has accepted a plea-deal. Today he pleaded guilty to two felony charges.
The overall mood in the courtroom today was of relief that this case is finally over and justice was served.
"This case is a hallmark for patient safety and our role as nurses," said Naomi Warren, Winkler County Nurse.
The final player in the Winkler County nurses scandal has been convicted. Doctor Rolando Arafiles pleads guilty to two felonies for misuse of official information and retaliation. In return, two other felony counts were dismissed, as well as a pending indictment for aggravated perjury.
"I am very pleased, I think that this was an excellent example that the justice system does work and it worked out very good in this instance," said David Glicker, Prosecutor.
Arafiles will serve 60 days behind bars as well as 5 years probation. He will have to pay a $5,000 fine and was required to officially surrender his medical license. It was the outcome the nurses have been waiting for.
"I think everybody did what they were supposed to do, we had some great attorneys and they really took care of it," said Anne Mitchell, Winkler County Nurse.
"We're very happy, we believe that justice was served and right does prevail, we were successful in letting the public know that we do have their back as nurses," said Warren.
Arafiles will serve his jail time in Andrews County beginning this Friday.
***UPDATE***The Following is a newsrelease from the Office of the Attorney General of Texas
Former Winkler County Memorial Hospital Physician Sentenced for Scheme to Fire Nurses In 2009
Rolando Arafiles Jr. to serve jail time, surrender medical license
KERMIT – A former Winkler County Memorial Hospital physician today pleaded guilty to misusing his position and coordinating with local officials to retaliate against two nurses who filed an anonymous complaint against him with the Texas Medical Board.
Rolando Arafiles Jr., 59, pleaded guilty to two third-degree felonies – misuse of official information and retaliation. Visiting Judge Robert H. Moore III sentenced Arafiles to five years deferred adjudication probation, 60 days in the Andrews County Jail and a $5,000 fine. Arafiles also must surrender his license to practice medicine.
With today’s guilty plea, Arafiles admits to urging former Winkler County Sheriff Robert Roberts and County Attorney Scott Tidwell to retaliate against Anne Mitchell and Vickilyn Galle. Both nurses worked with Arafiles at the county hospital and filed an anonymous complaint with the Texas Medical Board alleging that the physician acted improperly. Subsequently, Arafiles removed patient information from the hospital that Roberts ultimately used to determine the nurses’ identity.
Earlier this year, Roberts was convicted on related charges and removed from office. Former County Attorney Tidwell was tried and found guilty by a Howard County jury last month. He is currently appealing his conviction and has also been suspended from office. Former hospital administrator Stan Wiley pleaded guilty to related charges last March.
In June 2009, the nurses were improperly terminated after the sheriff and Arafiles unlawfully determined their identities. Ten days later, County Attorney Tidwell’s office sought the nurses’ indictment and the Winkler County Sheriff’s Department arrested the nurses for alleged criminal conduct they did not commit. A jury later acquitted one of the nurses, while charges against the other nurse were dropped by the prosecution.
KERMIT – The doctor at the center of a controversy surrounding the Winkler County Hospital has accepted a plea bargain agreement that will send him to jail for 60 days.
Doctor Rolando G. Arafiles pled guilty to felony misuse of official information and felony retaliation as part of a plea agreement today at the Winkler County Courthouse.
Arafiles will have to serve 60 days in jail, five years of probation and pay a $5,000 fine.
As part of the agreement, the additional charges of misuse of official information and retaliation were dropped, however, Arafiles has officially surrendered his medical license.