USC's Former Medical School Dean Allegedly Had a Secret Life
'Los Angeles Times' takes a long look
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2017 2:36 PM CDT
Carmen A. Puliafito, M.D., M.B.A. and Jay Leno (R) arrive at Changing Lives And Creating Cures Gala at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Beverly Hills, California.   (Photo by Tonya Wise/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito, the Harvard-educated former dean of USC's Keck School of Medicine, oversaw hundreds of medical students, professors, and clinicians; he estimated he raised more than $1 billion in funds for the Southern California university. But in March of last year he resigned; the only reason he gave was a desire to explore other opportunities. Now, in an extensive piece, the Los Angeles Times reveals for the first time that three weeks prior to his resignation, a 21-year-old woman overdosed in a hotel room in the 66-year-old's presence. She ultimately recovered. Methamphetamine was found in the hotel room, but no arrests were made. The Times spoke to sources and reviewed dozens of videos and photos for an investigation into the drug-fueled exploits Puliafito, who remains on the medical school faculty, allegedly engaged in with a young "circle of criminals and drug users."

The Times piece delves into Puliafito's hiring at USC a decade ago and his status in the medical world (he helped invent a laser technology to treat eye disease, has coauthored more than 60 articles in medical journals, and had raised the profile of other institutions prior to his tenure at USC, among other things) as well as his "other life." That life allegedly included the aforementioned 21-year-old, who was a prostitute when she met Puliafito and became his "constant companion"; meth- and ecstasy-fueled parties that were sometimes held on the USC campus; a group of drug-using partiers that included, a 17-year-old who says Puliafito wrote him a prescription for inhalers to soothe lungs made raw from pot and meth and an Iraq war vet with a criminal history who, at one court appearance, gave Puliafito's address as his own. Despite having no known criminal record and no public record of medical license issues, the Times did find some problems in Puliafito's past, including an assault and battery lawsuit against him. Click for the full piece.

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