FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 23, 2016

Contact: Bill Reynolds 518-414-1299

 

Malone, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced the indictment of a licensed practical nurse who had been employed by St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers in Saranac Lake on charges that she raped a male resident in her care. The arrest was the result of a Justice Center investigation.

Jessica Dresser (DOB: 10/25/85) of Plattsburgh, appeared in Franklin County Court before the Honorable Jerome J. Richards where she was arraigned on the following charges:

  •          2 counts of Rape in the 3rd Degree, a class “E” felony;
  •          2 counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the 3rd Degree, a class “E” felony;
  •          4 counts of Sexual Misconduct, a class “A” misdemeanor; and
  •          1 count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th degree, a class “A” misdemeanor

The defendant, who has been terminated from her position, was released under the supervision of probation.

The charges in this case stem from incidents that occurred in February of 2016 in which the defendant, a licensed practical nurse, allegedly engaged in sexual conduct on two separate occasions with a person receiving in-patient treatment for an opioid addiction.  On one of those occasions, Dresser allegedly gave the victim a controlled substance prior to the sexual contact.

Under the state’s penal law sexual contact of any kind between an employee and a resident at a facility licensed or certified by the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is a crime.  St. Joseph’s is licensed and certified by OASAS.

“Licensed professionals, such as this defendant, have a responsibility to provide treatment and care.  For a nurse to not only disregard that responsibility for her own sexual gratification, but to undermine her patient’s recovery by providing him drugs, as this defendant is alleged to have done, is unconscionable,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning.  “Individuals seeking treatment for addiction are vulnerable to abuse and we will continue to hold accountable those employees who take advantage of them.” 

Gunning also thanked the Saranac Police Department and the New York State Police for their assistance with the investigation and arrest. Justice Center Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor Rachel Dunn is prosecuting the case. Justice Center Investigators Joseph Mazzone and Pamela Harrington conducted the investigation.

 

About the Justice Center

The Justice Center began operations on June 30, 2013.  It operates a toll-free hotline that receives reports of allegations of abuse, neglect and significant incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Anyone who witnesses or suspects the abuse or neglect of a person with special needs can make a report. Mandated reporters who have reasonable cause to suspect that a reportable incident has occurred by staff must report it to the Justice Center immediately upon discovery.  The Justice Center is not a first responder so if a report involves an emergency situation, the caller is instructed to hang up and dial 9-1-1.

The Justice Center is authorized to investigate all reports of abuse and neglect, pursue administrative sanctions against staff found responsible for misconduct and its Special Prosecutor/Inspector General shares jurisdiction with local district attorneys to prosecute criminal offense allegations. The Justice Center notifies local district attorneys of all potential criminal cases.

Justice Center Individual and Family Support advocates provide guidance and information to victims, their families, personal representatives and guardians about the reporting and investigation process, offer support during criminal court proceedings and are available to accompany victims during interviews and court appearances.

 

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Editor’s note: In compliance with Rule 3.6(b)(6) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, you are advised that a charge is an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.