Ohio pediatrician found guilty of more charges

Dr. Mark Blankenburg
Dr. Mark Blankenburg

CINCINNATI (AP) - A southwest Ohio pediatrician convicted of sex crimes involving former patients was found guilty Thursday of drug trafficking and money laundering charges in the same case.

Dr. Mark Blankenburg, 53, of Hamilton was found guilty of six counts and acquitted of 19 others by Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth of Butler County.

Prosecutors say Blankenburg gave his patients money and prescription drugs to keep quiet about the molestation. At a trial this month, four men testified that the doctor molested or performed sex acts on them when they were teenagers. Defense attorneys said allegations against the doctor were false and that accusers extorted money and drugs from him. But a jury convicted the doctor Oct. 16 of charges, including gross sexual imposition, corruption of a minor, pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, and compelling prostitution.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Lance Salyers had no comment on the judge's verdict Thursday.

The judge scheduled a Nov. 19 hearing to discuss a sentencing date, as well as a trial date for the doctor on pending pornography charges. Blankenburg could be sentenced to more than 70 years in prison for his crimes, the prosecutor said.

Defense attorneys Mike Shanks and Chris Pagan did not immediately return messages left at their offices. Blankenburg is in the Butler County jail.

His twin brother, Dr. Scott Blankenburg, also has been charged and faces trial in April.

The investigation began in October 2007 after the State Medical Board of Ohio received a tip about allegedly improper prescription writing. Prosecutors say investigators learned of sex-abuse claims from one of the accusers when the man was being questioned about prescriptions Mark Blankenburg had written for him.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)