October 6, 1999

Affidavit provides details of charges against Clark

Woman being brought back to Brown County to face charges of practicing medicine without a license

By Steve Hinnefeld,
Herald-Times Staff Writer

NASHVILLE — Hulda Clark told an undercover state investigator that he was infected with the AIDS virus and said she could "kill the virus within three minutes," according to a 1993 affidavit filed in Brown Circuit Court.

Clark, 70, was on her way back to Indiana Tuesday to face charges that she practiced medicine without a license from her home on Coffey Lane in Nashville.

She was arrested Sept. 20 in San Diego and was jailed for 12 days before Brown County sheriff's deputies started driving her back, her attorney said.

The former Brown County woman's case has drawn national and international attention in the world of alternative medicine, with some of her defenders suggesting Indiana's law on medical licensing is overly broad.

But James Oliver, the Brown County prosecutor who asked to have Clark returned to Indiana to face trial, said the issue is whether Clark violated state law.

"This case is not about alternative medicine or whether Hulda Clark's treatments are effective," Oliver said Tuesday. "This case is about an unlicensed individual diagnosing and treating patients.

"Only licensed physicians are permitted to diagnose and treat patients in Indiana," Oliver said.

Practicing medicine without a license is a Class C felony in Indiana, punishable by two to eight years in prison.

Clark was charged in August 1993 as a result of an investigation by the Indiana attorney general's office and the Indiana State Department of Health, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

The affidavit was filed by Amy Huffman, a deputy attorney general who investigated the case with Karl Milhon, an investigator with the state health department. Huffman is now married to Oliver, who took office as Brown County prosecutor in January.

The affidavit says Huffman and Milhon went to Clark's office to check out a complaint about her treatment of AIDS patients. Milhon claimed he was a bisexual man who had learned a former partner was HIV-positive. Huffman posed as a friend.

Milhon signed a disclaimer form that said Clark was not a physician and that she used vitamins, minerals and herbs in nutritional therapy, the affidavit says. It says Clark used an electronic device to test Milhon and told him he tested positive for the AIDS virus, but not for cancer.

Huffman said she recorded the conversation with a hidden tape recorder. Her statement says Clark, referring to Milhon's HIV infection, said: "We'll have you cleared up in less than two weeks and I don't know of anybody else who can do that. And I can guarantee it, in fact. A money-back guarantee if you want."

The affidavit says Clark claimed to have "treated about 70 (HIV) patients and haven't had a single failure."

It says she sent Milhon directly to an Indianapolis lab for a blood test for HIV antigens. When he and Huffman returned, Clark received an "urgent" phone call and left, saying she needed to speak to her attorney.

When Clark returned to the office, she asked the investigators if they were from the state health department, and Milhon said he was, the affidavit says. Clark urged Milhon to see a doctor because of his HIV-positive status. She said what she had told the investigators earlier had been a "mistake."

While the investigation took place in May 1993, the charges weren't filed by then-prosecutor Ben Hoff III until three months later. By that time, Clark had left the state.

But Clark didn't go into hiding. She published books titled The Cure for All Cancers and The Cure for All Diseases. She espoused her theories that cancer is caused by parasites and pathogens and that it can be treated with herbal therapy and low-level electrical charges. And she saw patients at a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, across the border from San Diego, officials said.

Clark, who has a doctorate in physiology but hasn't claimed to be a medical doctor, lived in Brown County for about six years, friends said. She was well known in the Bloomington-Nashville alternative health community as a nutritional consultant.

Bev Ohneck-Holly, a Bloomington clinical nurse specialist in private mental-health practice, said she knew several people who consulted with Clark in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"I knew of her when I worked at the mental health center a few years ago," she said. "Her name was kind of like a household word in that a number of people who worked there went to her."

Monroe County resident Patty Mosora said she took her son to see Clark when he was in the fourth grade because he was hyperactive. Clark didn't diagnose the child but provided herbal treatments, including tincture of black walnut, wormwood and cloves. And he got markedly better, Mosora said.

Mosora said she was disappointed when Clark left the state in 1993. "I'd be glad to have her come back, not to be charged but to practice," she said.

Steve Dillin, an Indianapolis attorney who represents Clark, said he's mystified about why the charges are being pursued at this time. He said Clark was jailed in California with no access to reading materials, and now she's being subjected to a long car ride back to Indiana in the company of two sheriff's deputies.

Dillin said Indiana's medical licensing law, which prohibits anyone but a physician from maintaining an office to receive people suffering from disease, pain "or other conditions of body or mind" would appear to allow prosecution of all sorts of people.

"It seems to me a bit broad. And she's such a sweet older lady," he said of Clark. "I hate to see how she's being treated."

Reporter Steve Hinnefeld can be reached at 331-4374 or by e-mail at hinnefeld@heraldt.com.

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