By the time he stepped down from running the Keck School of Medicine at USC, Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito had built a successful career. He was a Harvard graduate, a renowned eye surgeon and a mover and shaker in higher education circles.
According to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, he was also a methamphetamine user who dabbled in the seedier side.
Interviews with his former friends and associates paint a picture of a deeply hidden second life, replete with videos of drug use by Puliafito and his friends. One video viewed by the Times shows Puliafito smoking from a pipe that appears to contain meth. A young woman on the couch next to him reportedly is shown smoking heroin from a piece of foil. Another video appears to show him partying in his office on campus.
Sarah Warren, who tells the Times she was Puliafito’s constant companion for a year and a half, said she met him while she was working as a prostitute.
Warren tells the Times that he later rented apartments for her so she would always be available.
Warren would eventually overdose on GHB while partying in a hotel room with Puliafito. She was taken to an LA hospital.
Three weeks after Warren OD’d, Puliafito resigned from his position at USC. But he remains affiliated with the university and recently represented Keck at a USC-sponsored event at a hotel in Pasadena (one in which, ironically, Warren says she frequented with Puliafito).
USC officials did not respond to repeated requests for information.
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