Dr. Kraynak opioid trial delayed for 5th time

In a Dec. 5, 2012 photo, Dr. Raymond Kraynak is photographed during the Mount Carmel Area School Board reorganization meeting at the Northumberland County Career and Technology Center in Coal Township. Federal prosecutors accuse Kraynak of causing the overdose deaths of five people several years ago.

WILLIAMSPORT — A federal judge for the seventh time granted a delay in the trial of Raymond Kraynak, the suspended Northumberland County doctor accused of criminal prescribing practices resulting in the deaths of five patients.

U.S. Judge Matthew Brann on Wednesday issued a motion delaying the 62-year-old’s jury selection and trial. Kraynak’s court-appointed attorney, Thomas A. Thornton, assistant federal public defender, requested the continuance on Aug. 5, the day pretrial motions were due.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Behe, the lead prosecutor, maintained a position he’s had on each continuance request: he concurred.

The now-scuttled jury selection and trial date had been Oct. 7. Brann’s seventh continuance order delays jury selection to Dec. 2 at the federal courthouse in Williamsport. A trial is scheduled to follow, unless an eighth continuance is requested and granted.

Federal agents arrested Kraynak on Dec. 21, 2017, on 12 counts of illegal distribution or dispensing, five counts of illegal distribution or dispensing resulting in death, two counts of maintaining a drug-involved premises for his offices in Mount Carmel and Shamokin.

No doctor in all of Pennsylvania prescribed more doses of opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin and fentanyl in the 19 months leading into July 2017 than Kraynak’s 2,792,490, Behe said at the time of Kraynak’s arrest.

Kraynak is accused of prescribing more than 6 million opioids between May 2012 through July 2017. The overdose deaths of five Kraynak patients occurred between October 2013 through May 2015, according to the grand jury indictment. Federal authorities have withheld the patients’ identities.

Thorton's court documents make the same argument from previous filings. He wrote in a court motion: "Taking into consideration the complexity of this case, the amount of discovery to be reviewed, and the amount of investigation that will be required, counsel is in need of additional time to prepare for trial."

Kraynak is free on $500,000 unsecured bail. His medical license is suspended indefinitely by the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine until the conclusion of the criminal case, according to the Department of State. He surrendered his prescribing license when arrested.