BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - As a Tulsa-area dentist accused of potentially exposing his patients to HIV and hepatitis remains in hiding, his staff has also stayed away from the media attention.
Dr. Scott Harrington, the oral surgeon accused of a number of unsafe practices at both his clinics, has also put his assistant of more than two decades in the spotlight.
LINK: Oklahoma Board of Dentistry's complaints against Dr. Scott Harrington (http://bit.ly/HarringtonDOCS)
Terri Valega is accused of sedating patients without a license, according to a complaint filed by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry.
Attempts to locate Valega have been unsuccessful.
"I am supporting her because she's an honest person," said neighbor Maxine Ballew.
Ballew says right now her neighbor of two decades is in hiding because of all the media attention.
RELATED: Dr. Scott Harrington tracked down to a house in Phoenix, Arizona (http://bit.ly/14uxpqu)
The Ballews say they feel sorry for Valega who has been Harrington's assistant for 27 years.
"She wasn't aware," Ballew said. "She was taught what to do. She was doing her job. She wouldn't have done anything if she had known it wasn't legal."
The Ballews say Valega took courses for injections in Chicago decades ago and wasn't aware that training isn't recognized in Oklahoma.
The complaint goes on to state assistants gave patients morphine while records show Dr. Harrington hasn't received morphine from a distributor in four years.
The Ballews say they will continue to help Valega who's a single mother and now without a pay check. They've even let her stay at their house.
"I'm sorry she's having to go through this," Ballew said.
RELATED: Tulsa-area patients potentially exposed to hepatitis, HIV at Dr. Scott Harrington's dental practices (http://bit.ly/dentistexposure)
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Also in the headlines
Pictures of the first winter storm of the season, Dec. 5 and 6.
KJRH 2 Works for You and Moody's Jewelry is giving away over $4,000 in jewelry from Dec. 9 through Dec. 20. Go to www.kjrh.com/contests to enter this 12 Days of Christmas giveaway.
A few of the Week 14 NFL games were played in snow storms.