Former VP of Health will not be charged

Dr. Abdul Rao, former vice president of USF Health, won’t be prosecuted by the state.

State Attorney Mark Ober announced the decision Tuesday. Rao, who was caught on camera taking a bicycle, completed an intervention program and paid $195 in fines to cover the cost of his prosecution and investigation, according to the State Attorney’s Office.

The Misdemeanor Intervention Program is for first-time offenders and prevents a criminal record.

Rao also worked 18 hours of community service at the American Cancer Society, said his attorney, Stephen Romine.

“I think he is very satisfied there were no charges,” Romine said.

On Feb. 9, Rao was caught on surveillance camera taking a bicycle from the loading dock of the Johnnie B. Byrd Sr. Alzheimer’s Center & Research Institute and giving it to a man Rao said was his handyman.

The video was put on YouTube a few days later.

Rao resigned the next week from his duties at the University as senior associate vice president of USF Health, vice dean of research and director of the School of Basic Biomedical Sciences, for which he received a salary of $384,280.

He received a $50,000 settlement with his resignation. He later rescinded his resignation, but the University refused to accept the rescindment.

“(The case) appropriately ended with no criminal charges,” Romine said.

However, Christine Dillingham, who was using the bicycle that was taken, said she disagreed with the result.

She said Rao shouldn’t go to jail, but that he needed to be held accountable.

Tim Boyd, a doctoral student and the owner of the bicycle, said Rao was a lightning rod who rubbed people the wrong way.

“I would have filed charges on anyone who had stolen my bike,” he said. “If it had been anyone else at the University, they would have been prosecuted.”

Rao is now working at the Institute of Women’s Health of North America in Orlando as chief executive officer and executive director, said Romine.

“I can’t be happy about it,” Boyd said. “While he is under investigation he gets a government job.”

However, Boyd said he is glad it is over, since the case was a big hindrance to his work at the University.

Romine said Rao has moved on and is doing well.