Union College president's wife charged with attempting to buy pain pill

Knox County drug dealer targeted

bestep@herald-leader.comctruman@herald-leader.comAugust 5, 2011 

BARBOURVILLE — Police arrested the wife of Union College's president this week after she allegedly came to the home of an accused drug dealer to buy a pain pill while officers were there for a raid.

Lou Ann de Rosset, 40, was charged with operating her 2006 Toyota under the influence of alcohol or drugs and with endangering the welfare of a minor.

Police filed the endangerment charge because de Rosset had her 5-year-old daughter with her, according to the citation.

De Rosset, the wife of Union President Edward de Rosset, was arraigned Thursday and pleaded not guilty.

Officers with the Knox County Sheriff's Department arrested Lou Ann de Rosset at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday at the home of Jason P. Stewart, 37, just outside Barbourville, according to court records and Derek Eubanks, chief deputy for the department.

Eubanks, Sheriff John Pickard and other officers had gone to Stewart's home to make arrests after using an undercover informant to make a drug buy that day, Eubanks said.

While there, Eubanks took the alleged drug dealer's phone and answered calls from people checking on the availability of pills.

The deputy said de Rosset was one of those who called. She said she was on her way to buy half of a 40-milligram Opana pain pill, according to Eubanks and the citation against her.

Eubanks said Opana is a mix of oxycodone and morphine. It has not been abused as much in southeastern Kentucky as some pain pills and methamphetamine, but addicts have said that is likely to change, Eubanks said.

"They told us to get ready — that's the next prescription drug we'd be flooded with," Eubanks said.

Stewart was allegedly selling 40-milligram pills for $90 each, Eubanks said.

De Rosset admitted she was there to buy half a pill and said she had bought half a pill at the same location earlier that day, according to the citation.

De Rosset is a former associate vice president of academic affairs, graduate operations and new programs at Union College but is no longer employed there, according to spokeswoman Melissa Reid.

Reid said in a statement that the college community was supportive of the de Rossets "as they work through this difficult time."

"Substance abuse is a powerful problem, and the scope of impact is far-reaching," the statement said. "However, this is first a poignant private, personal and family matter. We ask for prayers and privacy to help assure a successful outcome."

Edward de Rosset, 67, announced in April that he would retire from the college's presidency in June 2013.

Union is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodists.

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