By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak or their survivors are being offered a chance to listen to an official explanation of the recent indictment of 14 owners and employees of the Massachusetts company blamed for the fatal outbreak.
In a two-page letter sent to the victims or their survivors last week, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said prosecutors will offer the explanations in conference calls on Tuesday Dec. 30 and Tuesday Jan. 6, 2015. Both calls are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (see call in information below).
In the letter, Ortiz described the indictments including the second degree murder charges against one of the NECC owners, Barry Cadden, and NECC's chief pharmacist, Glenn Chin.
"You are receiving this letter because you were identified as a victim or the designated contact person for a victims," the letter states.
According to federal officials 64 patients died and 751 were sickened after being injected with fungus tainted methylprednisolone acetate shipped from NECC's Framingham, Mass. headquarters.
Ortiz noted that to get a conviction of second degree murder, prosecutors don't have to prove that the defendants intended to kill the victims, "but rather that Cadden and Chin acted with extreme recklessness likely to cause death."
She also acknowledged that 25 murder counts represent a small fraction of the total number of victims.
She wrote that determining which cases to include was a "difficult decision" based on "numerous factors."
"Even if you or your loved one were not named in the indictment, you are still recognized as a victims," Ortiz wrote.
Other charges in the indictment include mail fraud, racketeering and conspiracy.
Victims will be able to listen in on the conference calls but will not be able to ask questions.
Tuesday Dec. 30, 2014 2:30 P.M. Eastern Time
Tuesday Jan. 6, 2015 2:30 p.m.
Call-In numbers 1-888-970-4169 toll free 1-212-547-0140 toll call
Pass Code 3586140
Michigan: Karina Baxter, Paula Brent, Gayle Gipson, Donna Kruzich, Lynn Laperriere, Mary Pletti,
Sally Roe, Emma Todd
Tennessee: Marie Hester, Eddie Lovelace, Donald McDavid, Diana Reed, Thomas Rybinski, Carol Wetton, Earline Williams
Indiana: Pauline Burema, Kathy Dillon, Alice Machowiak
Maryland: Bahman Kashi, Brenda Rozek, Edna Young
Virginia: Kathy Sinclair, Douglas Wingate
Florida: Godwin Mitchell
North Carolina: Elwina Shaw