More women say Bridgeton pediatrician wrote prescriptions in exchange for cash and drugs

St. LOUIS More women have told investigators in recent weeks that a Bridgeton pediatrician wrote them prescriptions in exchange for sex and money following the doctors’ federal indictment earlier this month.

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they expect the new allegations to lead to state charges against Dr. Craig Spiegel. The doctor already faces a 25-count federal indictment that alleges that for at least a decade, he wrote prescriptions for women in exchange for sexual acts and photographs including women he met as child patients at his clinic Bridgeton.

In a motion asking a judge to keep Spiegel in jail until trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Sestric said she expects the new allegations to lead to up to five more charges.

Bridgeton Police Lt. Brice Loveall confirmed in an interview that police are investigating additional claims against Spiegel, but declined to provide more information.

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Additional charges will be forthcoming, but it is still an active investigation, he said.

Federal officials have accused Spiegel of writing more than 1,200 prescriptions for more than 73,000 pills without any legitimate medical reason, including highly addictive drugs such as opioids and amphetamines, in exchange for sex with patients.

In some cases, he knew the people chasing the prescriptions had addiction problems or shared the drugs with others, including children, the charges say. In one case, he prescribed drugs in exchange for sex with a woman who later died of an overdose in her 40s.

At least one child told federal investigators that Spiegel was inappropriate during an exam, and Sestric wrote in his motion that concerns about Spiegels conduct around children have increased dramatically in recent days.

Sestric said Spiegel continued his crimes for months, even after investigators raided his clinic and after he admitted in a taped interview that he was trading drugs for sex. The text messages showed Spiegel continued to distribute drugs even though he knew a woman had overdosed and knew she was under investigation.

The government is very intrusive lately, Spiegel said in a text. In another, he said the DEA is watching more closely.

In recent months, Spiegel closed his practice, put his Creve Coeur home up for sale and bought a smaller house in the St. Louis appraised at half the price of her old home, indicating she was trying to save more money, Sestric said.

One witness, a University of Washington doctor, told prosecutors that she and Spiegel had talked in the past about Israel, where Spiegel has relatives, and Israeli extradition laws, Sestric said. The two had exchanged articles citing cases of sex offenders exploiting the Israeli Law of Return policy, which allows any Jewish person with no criminal record to obtain citizenship, to avoid extradition for several years.

The witness met with Spiegel for a lunch on February 29 that she said felt like a goodbye. On Tuesday, Spiegel also contacted his wife in an attempt to arrange false identification, Sestric said.

Defense attorneys Neil and Peter Bruntrager countered that the prosecutor’s motion was presented for argument only, without an opportunity to examine evidence in court, and that Spiegel was presumed innocent until proven guilty. Spiegel has no criminal record.

Spiegel has already given up his state license to practice medicine and volunteered to surrender his passport and a Drug Enforcement Administration registration, which still allows him to prescribe drugs in certain cases, his lawyer

Spiegel, they said, has longstanding ties to St. Louis and could have fled in the months after learning he was under federal investigation.

If I had to run away, wouldn’t it have been between now and then? Peter Bruntrager said.

U.S. District Court Judge John Ross said he would review the case further before deciding whether Spiegel should remain in prison. He had not issued a ruling as of Wednesday evening.

Federal prosecutors have also charged a local woman they say helped recruit victims for Spiegel. She is accused of using the identities of her ex-husband, mother and friends to take advantage of her prescription and conceal how often she went to pharmacies.

Updated Wednesday with more details.

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