Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

NM psychiatrist pleads guilty in drug case

Mar. 28—A southern New Mexico psychiatrist awaiting sentencing for sexually assaulting patients has pleaded guilty to prescribing opioids to a patient with a history of substance abuse.

Mark Beale, 75, pleaded guilty Friday in US District Court to a single count of unlawful dispensing and distributing a controlled substance. The plea agreement calls for him to serve five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

Beale, of Las Cruces, was arrested in 2019 after six women patients alleged rape, harassment or abuse, according to the Associated Press. The news agency reported that many of the women who accused Beale of assault also reported that he gave them medications they didn’t need.

He was later indicted in federal court on drug charges.

In August, Beale pleaded guilty in 3rd Judicial District Court in Las Cruces to 16 counts of felony criminal sexual penetration, misdemeanor criminal sexual contact and petty misdemeanor battery. The plea agreement in that case calls for Beale to serve seven years in prison and to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He is scheduled to be sentenced in that case on Tuesday.

The agreement says that Beale’s state court sentence will run concurrently with his sentence in the drug case. The agreement also says that Beale can first serve the sentence for the drug case in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Beale wrote in his plea agreement in the federal court case that he prescribed opioids to at least one patient who had a history of opioid abuse.

“I knew the prescription was issued outside the usual course of medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose,” he said of the prescription for oxycodone he gave the woman.

Beale’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday.

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