Addressing scores of bewildered and at times angry students, the dean of USC’s medical school said Wednesday that the university had launched multiple internal investigations into the conduct of his predecessor after The Times reported that he associated with criminals and drug abusers who told of using methamphetamine and other drugs with him.
“These allegations, if they are true, they are horrible and despicable,” Dr. Rohit Varma told the gathering of scores of medical scholars and graduate students at the Keck School of Medicine in Boyle Heights, who were summoned to a town-hall-type meeting to discuss The Times’ article about Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito. The newspaper obtained a recording of the meeting.
“He’s a man who had a brilliant career, all gone down the drain,” Varma said. “I’m standing in this place where my predecessor now has this taint. … It is sad.”
He also said Puliafito, who stepped down as dean last year, had sought treatment in the past for alcoholism, but that the allegations in the article that he used drugs “came as a complete shock to us.”
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