SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Region

September 26, 2012

Chemist's education questioned in scandal

BOSTON (AP) — A chemist whose alleged mishandling of drug samples has thrown thousands of criminal cases into question testified under oath that she holds a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, but school officials say they have no record of her receiving an advanced degree or taking graduate courses there.

Defense attorneys say that if Annie Dookhan lied about receiving a master’s degree, it causes even more credibility problems for her work at the lab.

“If, in fact, she falsified her education or qualifications, we are even more deeply concerned about what she might have done in terms of testing the drugs,” said Anne Goldbach, forensics services director for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the state’s public defender agency.

State police say Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples submitted in the cases of about 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the lab. She resigned in March amid an internal investigation by the Department of Public Health. After state police took over the lab in July as part of a state budget directive, they said they discovered her violations were much more extensive than previously believed and went beyond sloppiness into “malfeasance” and “deliberate mishandling” of drug samples.

Dookhan has not responded to repeated requests for comments from The Associated Press. No one appeared to be at her home in Franklin yesterday. Her husband and her father did not respond to requests for comment on her master’s degree claim.

Asked about her educational background when she testified under oath during the 2010 trial of Larry Blue, a Boston man charged with cocaine trafficking and weapons offenses, Dookhan said she had a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a master’s degree in chemistry, both from the University of Massachusetts.

DeWayne Lehman, a spokesman for UMass-Boston, confirmed that Dookhan received a bachelor of science in biochemistry from the school in 2001 but said there is no record of her receiving a master’s degree in chemistry, as she listed on her resume and said in sworn testimony, according to a transcript.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

Local News
  • 140765_SN_DLE_FESSENDEN4 Special Spaces transforms two downstairs rooms into playroom for Riley Fessenden

    BEVERLY -- What happens when the perfect kid-friendly playroom appears in your house overnight? Beverly's Fessenden kids were mostly speechless when they returned from seeing "The Little Mermaid" on Saturday and got their first look at the playroom t

    July 28, 2014 10 Photos

  • Beverly Hospital courier loses patients’ lab forms

    BEVERLY -- A courier for Beverly Hospital last month lost lab request forms for 54 patients that included names, health insurance identification numbers and, in some cases, Social Security numbers. The courier misplaced the forms, which were in a zip

    July 28, 2014

  • Big plans for three parks in the Point neighborhood SALEM -- One will be overhauled, another created from scratch, and a third will get a spiffed-up community garden. It's a good time to be a park in the Point neighborhood. The densely packed area just south of the city's downtown is on the verge of i

    July 28, 2014

  • Peabody could see school choice profit next year PEABODY -- After three years, the city's schools are projected not only to break even on school choice, but actually make a $30,000 profit. School officials expect to lose just under $300,000 in state aid next year for students who opt to attend scho

    July 28, 2014

  • 140723_SN_DLE_SALVARMY2 Dennis and Susan Knight take over Salem Salvation Army operation

    SALEM -- It was Christmas Eve in Sanford, Maine, but 8-year-old Dennis Knight and his three sisters had good reason to be short on holiday spirit: Their mom and dad had warned them there would be no Christmas that year. The family couldn't afford it.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos