COLUMBIA CITY — Dr. James Hanus was soft-spoken and apologetic when he addressed the court Monday during his sentencing hearing, asking for forgiveness and sharing his pride in serving the Whitley County community.

“It was an honor to serve my patients,” Hanus said.

After a several-years-long investigation and court proceedings, the South Whitley physician, age 69, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to two counts of dealing a controlled substance by a practitioner in August.

Per the decision handed down by Judge Doug Fahl, Hanus was sentenced to six years at the Indiana Department of Corrections with all but two years of that sentence suspended. He is expected to serve those remaining two years through Whitley County Community Corrections.

In addition to the sentence, Fahl also ruled that Hanus must forfeit his medical license, complete 200 hours of community service and pay a number of fees and restitution costs.

Whitley County Prosecutor Daniel Sigler, stated that the sentence was a “fair resolution,” for this case, but that there would be no amount of judicial action that could replace what so many of Hanus’ patients may have lost through addiction.

“We’ll never do full justice to those who have suffered at the hands of opioid addiction,” Sigler said. “At the same time, we want to make it known the very real dangers of substance addiction.”

The sentencing concluded an case that took over a year following Hanus’ arrest in July 2017. According to data from INSPECT, which tracks the number of prescriptions written for controlled substances, Hanus was identified as the health care provider with the third highest number of prescriptions with over 3,000 unique patients receiving those prescriptions between Jan. 1, 2015 and Aug. 20, 2016.

During the hearing, Fahl outlined several factors that went into his decision. Some of the aggravating factors included his position as a “physician of trust.” On the other hand, Fahl noted that Hanus’ willingness to accept responsibility for his actions was a mitigating factor as well as the large volume of correspondence the court received from Hanus’ friends, family and colleagues voicing their support for the doctor.


  1. You have got to be kidding me. He was one of the biggest dope peddlers in Indiana. 2 years sitting at home eating steak every night on house arrest in not justice. When did he take responsibility? After he was busted? His prescriptions took lives and those lives were in his hands and he knew exactly what he was doing. He loved the power and the position he was in to be able to do what he did for so long.

  2. It’s sad that dr.hanus is no longer allowed to practice.medicine .I went to dr. hanus for twelve yreara .He is a amazing person as well as a outstanding doc.peopke make mistakes ..we’re only human ..The way he helped me over my depression an anixeity when no one else could figure it out was amazing.Its really sad to know that when all of this is over an forgotten he still won’t be able to practice medicine ..The community has lost not only a good man but one hell of a great doc.

  3. It’s o sad that dr.haus will no longer be a doc.he has done amazing things for his patienta ..He figure out a helped me thru an battle of depression an anxiety when no other doc.could he not only is a awesome person but one hell of a great doc.je will missed ..it’s really sad that when all of this is done an over an forgotten he still won’t be able to practice medicine I feel it’s a great loss to our community..I will stand by this man always ..he is an was a great doctor in my book we all make mistakes that’s what makes us human