When Dr. Raymand Kraynak appears in federal court on Tuesday for jury selection, it will be 1,354 days since the former Mount Carmel doctor was charged as one of the state’s most prolific opioid prescribers.
To say the time has come for justice to be done — both for Kraynak and the victims — is an understatement.
There remains one final legal brief to deal with before the month-long trial begins: Prosecutors want to preclude the testimony of a defense expert they argue is not qualified as a medical expert.
After that, the much-anticipated and delayed trial will finally begin.
Kraynak was originally charged and then arrested by federal agents on Dec. 21, 2017. The trial was delayed 15 times over the past four years.
In late 2017, Kraynak was charged with a dozen counts of illegal distribution or dispensing, five counts of illegal distribution or dispensing resulting in death and two counts of maintaining a drug-involved premise for his offices in Mount Carmel and Shamokin. The federal indictment says Kraynak prescribed more than six million opioids, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and fentanyl, over a five-year period between May 2012 and July 2017. Prosecutors seek to hold him responsible for the overdose deaths of five patients only identified by initials in the indictment that occurred between October 2013 and May 2015.
Kraynak has remained free on $500,000 unsecured bail. The state Board of Osteopathic Medicine suspended his medical license until the conclusion of the criminal case.
We understand this is a complicated case with dozens, if not hundreds, of moving parts. Those cases can be delayed for some time.
But four years is a long time to wait for some semblance of justice. Federal indictments just don’t happen overnight; prosecutors had their case set the day Kraynak was charged nearly four years ago. Since then, the families of his alleged victims continue to wait for news regarding the man law enforcement personnel say had a role in the deaths of their loved ones.
The trial is expected to begin soon after jury selection. It is scheduled to last a month.
Then, finally, one way or the other, those involved can get closure.
NOTE: Opinions expresses in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.