Former USC dean's scandalous secret life detailed in legal papers

ByLisa Bartley & David Ono KABC logo
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Former USC dean
Dr. Carmen Puliafito was formerly the dean of the USC medical school.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dr. Carmen Puliafito may not be a doctor much longer.

Photos that were evidence from Puliafito's recent administrative hearing show the former dean of the University of Southern California medical school doing illegal drugs with Sarah Warren - a woman he met through an escort website when she was a 20-year-old prostitute.

They say they did meth together the very first night.

There was turmoil in the year that followed.

Sarah says they did heroin. He admits to doing meth.

She got arrested and he posted bail.

He claims she drugged him in Las Vegas. She went to rehab.

But three weeks after that stint in rehab she overdosed at the Hotel Constance in Pasadena - in a room paid for by Puliafito.

In the hotel room, police found meth, "whip-its" or nitrous oxide, and burn marks.

According to transcripts of Sarah's interview with investigators she and Puliafito had both taken meth and heroin on the night of the overdose - and they were waiting for a male escort to join them - when she overdosed on GHB. Puliafito denied doing heroin.

Puliafito told police he was "just friends" with Warren.

She said they returned to the hotel the very next day to keep partying.

Records show Puliafito prescribed pages of medications to Warren even though she was never his patient.

At a hearing this month that will determine if Puliafito will keep his medical license he testified that he is bipolar and during this period of bad behavior was in a hypo-manic state that clouded his judgment.

Among the records just released from the hearing is one detailing a 2016 car crash stating that Puliafito fell asleep at the wheel in San Marino.

At another hotel in 2016 a man Sarah invited back to their room kicked Puliafito in the groin and pointed a gun point-blank at his forehead.

Through it all Puliafito testified he was "madly in love" with Sarah but over time came to believe she and her family in Huntington Beach were "shaking him down" for cash.

Puliafito created a spreadsheet showing nearly $400,000 he says he spent on Sarah: two rehabs, dental work, bail money, legal fees, $100,000 in clothing, even $1,300 for laser hair removal.

Also in evidence were letters Sarah wrote to Puliafito from one of her rehabs, stating "I cannot wait to be in your arms." and "I'd marry you in a heartbeat Carmen."

Later however, Sarah told investigators for the medical board "to be intimate with him was by far the hardest aspect of all of this 'cause I - I'm not attracted to him."

"I loved that lifestyle."

Puliafito declined to comment when reached by phone by Eyewitness News.

He testified at trial he's completed rehab and has not used illicit drugs in the last year.

Eyewitness News could not reach Sarah Warren, but spoke briefly with her father, who declined comment.

At the administrative hearing for Puliafito earlier this month, we learned USC entered into a confidential settlement with Sarah and her family.

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