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When Diana L. Barnett of Stevenson started going to the Yalich Clinic in Arnold last July, she hoped to leave without her back pain. Instead, she left without her pills.

Barnett's chiropractor, Cataldo "Kip" Bompiani, 31, was convicted yesterday in county District Court of stealing his patient's prescription painkillers and tranquilizers. He was found guilty of two counts of misdemeanor theft.

Prosecutor Anne L. Colt said that Bompiani, of York, Pa., took

his patient's pills to satisfy his drug addiction.

"When confronted by the victim, he said he had a drug problem," Colt said. "He basically 'fessed up to everything."

But Daniel M. Pell, a York attorney representing Bompiani, said his client denies the charges and plans to appeal the conviction. Pell said Bompiani will ask for a jury trial in Circuit Court.

Pell had no comment about a similar case brought against Bompiani in Pennsylvania, where he practiced before taking a job in Maryland.

In 1990, Bompiani was suspended from practicing chiropractic in Pennsylvania for 10 years after pleading guilty to 31 counts of illegally obtaining or possessing prescription drugs from four drugstores. He was sentenced to six to 23 months in prison but was released after serving 20 days.

Barnett, who sought treatment for severe back pain, said after her first visit to Bompiani, she noticed several of her pills, which contained codeine, were missing. She was suspicious because Bompiani had left the examining room with the pills, she said, saying he had to check the contents.

Before she saw the doctor again, Barnett recorded the number of pills she hadin several vials, which she brought to the office. After Bompiani again left the room with the pills -- a generic drug similar to Valium -- Barnett checked the vials when he returned.

Barnett testified that she confronted Bompiani about the pills and he admitted both thefts.

Bompiani was arrested Aug. 22, 1991, after a month-long investigation, Colt said.

Pell said Bompiani never confessed to the thefts and never discussed the matter with Barnett. When Bompiani's supervisor confronted him with the allegations two days later, Bompiani submited to a drug test, which showed no traces of the generic tranquilizer in his bloodstream, Pell said.

But Colt said a toxicologist testifying for the defense said only that the tranquilizer was not present and that Bompiani had not been tested for codeine, the first drug taken.

Bompiani will be sentenced in about six weeks after a criminal background check is completed, Colt said. He could receive up to 18 months in jail and a $500 fine for each theft conviction, she said.

Colt said she will ask the judge to mandate drug treatment. Whether she asks for jail time will depend on his record, she said.

Bompiani agreed to leave the Yalich Clinic, in the 1500 block of Ritchie Highway, after learning of Barnett's allegations in July.

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