More MS news articles for June 2001

Jurist gives closed clinic 'secrets' protection

By Gloria Carr

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP Attorneys for two men accused of promising cures for incurable diseases got a temporary order of protection Tuesday to secure materials, described as "trade secrets," police seized during a raid at their Aurora clinic.

Stephen R. Wechter, 48, of Aurora, and John B. Peterson, 46, of Elburn, are charged with five felony counts of practicing medicine without a license and receiving fees for representing a cure for an incurable disease.

The two men opened LifeCare Systems/Gensys in 1998 at a building at Broadway and Benton Street in downtown Aurora.

Authorities said Wechter and Peterson are not medical doctors, yet they promised people stricken with multiple sclerosis, Lyme Disease and other illnesses a cure within six months to two years.

At a hearing before 16th Circuit Judge Franklin Brewe Tuesday, defense attorneys Thomas Zimmerman Jr. and David C. Thomas requested an order of protection and an inventory of the materials Aurora police seized last month.

Police "don't recognize the significance of these documents," Zimmerman said. "These are trade secrets."

Thomas said the materials including hundreds of files filed with confidential medical records and computer disks containing "proprietary" information that is pending a patent should be protected to prevent anyone from obtaining the information. He asked that Aurora police be required to inventory the materials so the defense could figure out what was taken.

Brewe does not typically grant such orders. He decided to grant the temporary order of protection over the prosecution's objection.

The defense also filed a motion for substitution of judges, which will be heard on June 14 before Judge Philip DiMarzio.

Wechter and Peterson are accused of victimizing people from Chicago, Prophetstown, Oak Lawn and Bartlett. The victims were given a diagnosis and course of treatment, authorities said.

In August 1999, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suspended the lab's operations. A November 1999 lawsuit that is still pending was filed against the men on behalf of six patients by Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan.