Witness says she met psychiatrist at hotel for "sexual activity" in exchange for Xanax

February 5, 2013

A Savannah psychiatrist will remain in federal custody after his court-appointed lawyer Thursday waived a detention hearing on accusations his client exchanged prescriptions and cash for sex with local strippers.

Dr. William Ellien, 58, was arrested last week on a federal complaint for illegally distributing controlled substances for no legitimate medical reason. He was ordered detained pending a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge G.R. Smith.

Ellien, handcuffed and wearing a jail jumpsuit, was brought to court Thursday morning and almost immediately returned upstairs to the U.S. Marshal’s lockup after attorney George Asinc of Rincon waived the hearing.

According to the affidavit submitted by federal Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Douglas Kahn, “a number of witnesses” told investigators they had sex with Ellien in exchange for drugs.

One witness told investigators she met Ellien at the Holiday Inn Express on Abercorn Street in June “for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with him,” the affidavit said.

In exchange, he gave her a prescription for the drug Xanax and cash, the affidavit said.

Agents also determined that Ellien “on more than one occasion booked rooms” at the motel, the affidavit said.

It indicated Ellien had been under investigation since September.

The affidavit stated the agent did not include “all facts known to me, but only the facts necessary to establish probable cause that” Ellien violated federal law.

During an interview with drug agents, the affidavit said, Ellien “admitted to meeting various girls at local strip clubs” and engaging in sexual acts with them “in exchange for cash and prescriptions.” He said the conduct occurred from about 2009 until the end of November 2012 and was “unlawful and unethical,” the affidavit said.

In 2011, the Georgia Medical Society named Ellien a health care hero for health care education for conducting or sponsoring activities that have improved the quality of life in our community.

He was a private-practice physician who served as medical director for Memorial Health’s Center for Behavioral Medicine on the campus from 2007 until his contract was terminated in September.

Source: Jan Skutch, "Savannah psychiatrist to remain in jail in drugs for sex case," Savannah Morning News, February 1, 2013.


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