MILWAUKEE (AP) _ A laboratory was charged with reckless homicide Wednesday for allegedly misreading Pap smears that could have saved the lives of two women. A technician and a doctor escaped immediate charges under a deal with prosecutors.

District Attorney E. Michael McCann brought the charges against Chem-Bio Corp. of suburban Oak Creek in the case of Dolores Geary and Karin Smith. The company could face a maximum $20,000 fine if convicted on the two counts of reckless homicide.

The women died of cervical cancer after the laboratory missed what experts testifying at an inquest said were unmistakable signs of cancer on their gynecological exams. When detected early, cervical cancer can easily be cured.

Over the weekend, the inquest jury had recommended reckless homicide charges against the laboratory as well as a technician and the doctor who oversaw the lab.

McCann said the technician and the doctor who supervised the lab each signed an agreement with his office that defers prosecution for six years as long as they follow certain guidelines. If they abide by the agreement, no charges will be filed.

Under the deal, Dr. Robert Lipo is barred from acting as medical director of any laboratory and from supervising technicians doing tissue testing.

June Fricano, the technician who handled both women's tests, agreed to work on salary or on an hourly basis instead of being paid by the number of samples analyzed.

McCann said she examined 20,000 to 40,000 Pap smears a year, compared with the maximum of 12,000 recommended under professional standards.

Fricano also agreed not to work more than 42 hours and to abide by a number of other professional standards.

Criminal charges for a medical error are extraordinarily rare. Such mistakes are normally handled by way of lawsuits or other civil actions, such as the lifting of a doctor's license.

Martin E. Kohler, a lawyer for the laboratory, said the company would fight any charges. The lab is still in business but no longer does Pap smears.

``We believe it was an act of negligence and not criminal recklessness,'' Kohler said.

Fricano's lawyer, David Geraghty, said his client was relieved and ``ready to get on with her life.''

Lipo's attorney, Patrick Knight, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Years after the Pap smears were allegedly misread, the women were diagnosed as having advanced cervical cancer. Smith, 29, a Nashotah accountant, died March 8. Geary, 40, a mother of three from suburban Oak Creek, died in 1993.

Both victims received multimillion-dollar settlements from the lab and the women's HMO, Family Health Plan. Smith, before dying, asked McCann to pursue criminal charges as well.