Skip to comments.Doctor at focus of anthrax probe files charges against family
Posted on 10/01/2004 9:54:57 AM PDT by TownCryer
POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. -- The family of Dr. Kenneth Berry, whose homes were raided in August during the FBI's anthrax investigation, fought outside a motel because it cracked under the pressure of the federal inquest, a lawyer said Friday.
"The great pressure of being scrutinized by the federal government as a responsible party for the anthrax mailings I think would be enough to cause stress for the average citizen," said Clifford Lazzaro, Berry's lawyer.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsday.com ...
"The great pressure of being scrutinized by the federal government as a responsible party for the anthrax mailings I think would be enough to cause stress
The first two paragraphs of this story are just about unintelligible.
Yes, they are. I've seen several AP articles recently that make me wonder if they're using high school students as writers now. *roll eyes*
Why did Anthrax expert go mad and attack family members so violently?
08 Aug 2004
Dr Kenneth Berry, a bioterrorism expert whose houses and car are being searched by the FBI, was involved in a bizarre incident last Thursday when he attacked a teenage girl, apparently quite violently, at a motel near his home.
An off-duty policewoman, Elizabeth Goeckel, who saw the whole thing, said I'd just finished checking in and I heard screaming. A teenage girl was running into the lobby and a man was chasing her.
He was hitting her and she was screaming for help. Then he tackled her onto the ground, and I went over and grabbed his arm so she could get out from under him.
She was fighting to get away. I told her to just go outside, and that's when I used force to restrain him with the help of a man from the motel.
"A woman ran in - his girlfriend or wife - screaming that he had just thrown her and her child down into the street.
Dr. Berry was charged with four counts of assault.
Dr. Berry is a bioterrorism expert More
FBI queried ex-neighbors of anthrax probe figure
By Luis Fabregas and Reid R. Frazier
Saturday, August 7, 2004
FBI agents have questioned the former Fayette County neighbors of a UPMC-McKeesport doctor linked to a federal investigation of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks.
The agents did not mention anthrax when asking about Dr. Kenneth Berry two months ago, but inquired about the physician's attitude toward the government, Tim Kovach, 42, of Masontown, said Friday.
"They said they were here for a job check, but I knew (different)," said Kovach, who lives in a duplex neighboring the home where Berry for several years spent weekends. "Then at the end, they asked if he ever said anything against the government, and 'Did you ever witness him doing anything that would compromise the government?'"
Authorities investigating the anthrax attacks on Thursday searched two Wellsville, N.Y., homes used by Berry, a UPMC-McKeesport emergency room doctor and self-described bioterrorism expert. Hours later, Berry was charged with assault in a fight with four relatives at a seaside motel in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.
The physician has not been connected to the 2001 attacks and told police he had nothing to do with anthrax, Point Pleasant Beach police Chief Daniel DePolo said in a news conference yesterday.
Federal investigators wrapped up their daylong search of the Wellsville properties after dark, but would not reveal whether they had found anthrax, Mayor Brad Thompson said. Authorities would not say why the homes had been targeted.
"It's an ongoing investigation," said Jeff Killeen, the FBI spokesman in the Pittsburgh field office.
UPMC officials said Berry is employed by Emergency Resource Management, an arm of the hospital network. They declined to provide further information on Berry's employment, citing personnel policies.
Five people were killed and 17 fell ill in the fall of 2001, when envelopes laced with anthrax were mailed to government offices and news media.
Attempts yesterday to reach Berry by telephone and e-mail were unsuccessful.
Berry has worked at UPMC-McKeesport to supplement his income from working as director of emergency services at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, said William DiBerardino, who retired as Jones Memorial president in 2000.
An accomplished pilot, Berry flew a private plane from Philadelphia to Waynesburg, then drove to Masontown on weekends from 1993 to 1996 to visit his daughters, Nicole and Michelle, Kovach said. The physician has remarried since divorcing the mother of Nicole and Michelle, whose family lives in Masontown. He quit maintaining the duplex in 1996 or 1997, Kovach said.
When FBI agents came to the neighborhood on Smithfield Road in late May or early June, they asked whether Berry had been seen abusing family members, but did not mention anthrax, Kovach said.
Berry is the founder of Preempt Medical Counter-Terrorism, a business that trains medical professionals to respond to chemical and biological attacks. Berry in a 1997 interview with USA Today called for anthrax vaccines to be made "widely available to the population, starting in the major cities."
The physician in March received patent approval for a system to track chemical and biological agents in the air.
"He's a medical doctor who has a genuine, committed interest in bioterror issues," said David Levin, a professor at the University of Victoria in British Colombia, who is working with Berry on a proposal to test the system. Although they have spoken frequently over the telephone, Berry and Levin have not met.
"In the world of academics and science, you meet people all the time by the Internet and telephone and you have similar interests and you just sort of go with it," Levin said. "Who's to know whether he's a closet terrorist or not? You just don't make those kinds of assumptions."
Jones Memorial's DiBerardino said he ran into Berry, who was with his family, two weeks ago at a concert in a New York park.
"He didn't seem any different," DiBerardino said. "He's always very pleasant."
DiBerardino said he and Berry talked about flying -- a common interest for both. Berry also has a license to fly commercial jets, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
"He was a little different in that he was interested in airplane crashes and bioterrorism," DiBerardino said. "As far as I know, he's a decent guy, a decent doctor, but who knows? I have no reason to think he's into anything."
The physician's father, William Berry, of Newtown, Conn., told his hometown newspaper, The Star-Ledger, that his son was exhausted and upset over the house searches. He also said his son knows Dr. Steven Hatfill, a government scientist whom authorities have described as a "person of interest in the case."
Hatfill, who once worked at the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., has denied any wrongdoing and sued Attorney General John Ashcroft and other officials, saying his reputation was ruined. The lawsuit is pending. Berry's Web site says he presented a bioterrorism paper at Fort Detrick in January 1997.
"Hey, here's a guy being shafted by the FBI," William Berry said of his son. "It's just buying time because they have nothing on anthrax. You are looking at a setup."
Berry was released yesterday from Ocean County Jail after posting $10,000 bail on the assault charges against his relatives. He complained of illness and vomiting while in police custody, authorities said. One of the relatives was taken to a hospital for treatment, police said.
Federal agents showed up unannounced early Thursday at a one-bedroom apartment on Maple Street in Wellsville, where Berry had been a tenant, said the owner of the Victorian home, Barry Dunne. The landlord described Berry as a courteous man whom he saw only occasionally.
Dunne said Berry was his tenant in the upstairs apartment for about four months in 2001. Dunne bought the home in August 2001.
"He looked a little worn out, like most doctors," said Dunne, 43.
Dunne said Berry told him he was getting married, then moved out.
Berry has used Preempt to foster his interest in training emergency workers to respond to chemical and biological attacks. During a presentation in Sweden in June, Berry used a map of Pittsburgh to explain some of his work.
The company Web site also refers to him as president of the American Academy of Emergency Physicians. A spokeswoman for a different group, the American College of Emergency Physicians, said the group that Berry belongs to is not recognized by the American Medical Association. Berry has held a medical license to practice in Pennsylvania since 1984.
Berry is an aviation medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration, which means he gives physicals to those applying for pilots' licenses.
This is a very peculiar story. I remember reading in a local newspaper (the Greensburg PA Tribune Review) that this Dr. Berry was an emergency room doc at UPMC McKeesport, and that he had contacted some other 'expert' about patenting some bio preventative measures with him (Berry). But the 'expert' claimed he had never worked with him. From memory, they also searched his family home(s)...and that this guy, Berry, did not live in the McKeesport area but that he used to fly his own plane into the area (from NY) when he worked locally. Very, very strange.
Doctor target of anthrax probe
Works at UPMC McKeesport
Saturday, August 07, 2004
By Byron Spice, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The doctor whose homes in upstate New York and on the Jersey shore were searched by FBI agents investigating the 2001 anthrax attacks is a family physician and self-styled bioterrorism expert who works in the UPMC McKeesport emergency department.
Dr. Kenneth M. Berry, 48, is employed by Emergency Resources Management Inc., a subsidiary of UPMC that provides staffing for emergency rooms in 10 hospitals in the region. A UPMC McKeesport emergency room employee acknowledged he worked there.
On Thursday, federal agents searched two homes in Wellsville, N.Y., where Berry lives or has lived, as well as his parent's cottage in Ocean Beach, N.J. An FBI spokesman said the searches by agents from the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service were part of the anthrax probe, though he declined to say what the agents were seeking or identify what was seized.
From 1996 to 2001, Berry worked in the emergency department at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville and was medical director of the department for a time. But he resigned in October 2001 and no longer has privileges at the hospital.
UPMC spokeswoman Jane Duffield would only confirm that Berry worked for the UPMC subsidiary and would not say when he began working there.
William DiBerardino, who retired as administrator of Jones Memorial in 2000, said Berry used to work occasional shifts in Pittsburgh emergency rooms back then to make extra money. Filling in as temporary physician staff, a practice known as locum tenens, is a common practice for many physicians and many hospitals employ them, he noted.
In 1997, Berry established an organization called Preempt Medical Counter-Terrorism Inc. to train emergency medical personnel on how to respond to chemical, biological or nuclear weapons attacks.
Dr. Michael Allswede, who specializes in medical response to bio-chemical attacks at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and is a consultant to the FBI, said he barely knew Berry.
"I met him one time for about a half hour three years ago," Allswede said. "I don't have any idea what he's doing."
He said he had no idea why federal agents involved in the anthrax case are now interested in Berry.
Anthrax-laced envelopes were mailed in the fall of 2001 to government and news media offices, killing five people and sickening another 17.
In 2002, the U.S. government had identified Dr. Steven Hatfill, a former government bioweapons expert,as a "person of interest" in the case. Hatfill, who once worked at the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., has denied any wrongdoing and has sued the government, saying his reputation was ruined.
Berry's father, William C. Berry, told The Star-Ledger of Newark that his son knew Hatfill. He also maintained that the FBI is unfairly targeting his son.
"Hey, here's a guy being shafted by the FBI," Berry said from his home in Newtown, Conn. "It's just buying time because they have nothing on anthrax. You're looking at a setup."
After the raids on his homes yesterday, Berry was arrested at the White Sands Oceanfront Resort and Spa in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., on four counts of simple domestic assault. Police said he punched his girlfriend and her daughter. He subsequently posted $10,000 bail.
The New York Times reported that Berry said he did not know why agents had searched his property.
"We are at a very dangerous crossroads in American history," Berry said.
According to his organization's Web site, Berry graduated from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Montserrat in 1983. Berry has had a Pennsylvania medical license since 1984. His license, which expires in December, is in good standing and he has had no disciplinary actions against him here.
Two daughters of Berry live in Masontown, Fayette County.
Tim and Dorothy Kovach, who lived next door to Berry when the doctor had rented a duplex on Smithfield Road eight years ago, said FBI agents visited their house about two months ago inquiring about Berry.
The agents told them they were doing a background check for a job.
"We never had trouble with him," Tim Kovach said yesterday. "I can't believe he would end up like this.
"For all I knew, he was an ear doctor. That's all he told us."
The Kovachs said that Berry lived in Masontown for three years, but that he was usually there only on weekends.
"It was like the wind. He blew in and out," said Tim Kovach.
Berry's Web site says he was president of the American Academy of Emergency Physicians. But a spokeswoman for the American College of Emergency Physicians yesterday emphasized that Berry's organization is not recognized as a certifying organization by the American Medical Association.
Berry is board-certified as a family physician, not an emergency physician, she said.
The Preempt Web site indicates that the organization sponsored three educational conferences in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., from 1997-99. The site also notes that he gave a talk on bio-defense in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June.
In March, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Berry a patent on a computerized surveillance system that combines weather data and reports of human symptoms in an area to determine if certain chemical, biological or nuclear hazards are present.
In the late 1990s, Berry was quoted in a smattering of news reports about terrorism. In a 1997 USA Today story, for instance, Berry was quoted as saying, "We ought to be planning to make anthrax vaccine widely available to the population, starting in the major cities."
Strange guy. anyway I object to the public arena persecution of this guys. All the searches were tipped off to the press, like was done with Hatfill.
surely there's other suspects, so why the public dog and pony show for these two?
Thanks for the ping!
I'm anxiously awaiting with bated breath the upcoming FBI announcement on how that case in coming along and whether this is really an ironclad deadline, or one of those indefinitely extensible deadlines.
I'm not sure, but I think that now that we're fully upon the upcoming election, we're not going to be hearing too much about "Amerithrax" anymore and this whole thing is going to be very quietly and conveniently swept under the rug.
"we're not going to be hearing too much about "Amerithrax" anymore and this whole thing is going to be very quietly and conveniently swept under the rug."
That would be a pity. A lumpy rug is not only unsightly, it's a trip and fall hazard - don't you think?
How is life at Merck treating you?
Dunno about links or websites and I sure as hell wouldn't take any stock in Merck. Have you read the papers?
Please, Mr. "Truthsayer", go away and don't come back you sick puppy. You're not a true Freeper or a conservative (I highly doubt you're even a Republican), and you've already been banned from here numerous times for posting under multiple identities.
"posting under multiple identities."
Now there's a case of the pot calling the kettle black if there ever was one.
Listen to me you sick, pathetic loser, I'm not posting under multiple identities, we've already been through this tired routine before. If you still don't believe me, we can ping the Admin Mod on it yet again, and what will happen is you'll just get banned from here again and I'll still be here, because I'm a real Freeper.
Actually, you've written in your journal - "John Shelley's Journal" - that you've been banned a number of times. The terms "sick", "pathetic" & "loser" are perennial favorites and the least offensive of your expletives. Time to make another "donation", is it?
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