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State probing report of nurse at rehab facility supplying patients with drugs, attorney says

LOCKPORT – A state agency is investigating allegations that a nurse at a drug rehabilitation center in Niagara Falls brought alcohol, marijuana and other drugs into the facility and shared them with patients, according to a defense attorney in Niagara County Court.

Michael E. Benedict made the statement during the sentencing of Daniel R. McGill, a Lewiston man who pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary for breaking into a Lewiston home.

McGill had been ousted from a court-supervised drug treatment for using drugs while in the program. Benedict said that was true, but not all McGill’s responsibility. Some of the drugs were obtained from a nurse at First Step, a Niagara Falls center operated by Northpointe Council, formerly known as the Alcoholism Council in Niagara County, according to the McGill, assistant public defender fo Niagara County.

Benedict told Judge Sara Sheldon that the case is being probed by Mary Jean Bowman, a former Niagara County assistant district attorney now working as an assistant special prosecutor for the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, a state agency.

Diane Ward, a spokeswoman for the Justice Center, declined comment on the case.

Calls to Kristi Yerger, Northpointe vice president of treatment services, were not returned.

Sheldon sentenced McGill, 22, to 1 1/3 to four years in prison if he fails to complete a 90-day program in the state prison system’s secure drug treatment center.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com