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Drug rehab nurse pleads guilty to sex with patient

LOCKPORT - A former nurse at a Wheatfield drug rehabilitation facility pleaded guilty to a felony Friday for having sex with a male patient in his room March 8.

The incident occurred at First Step, an inpatient facility operated by Northpointe Council. Under state law, rehab patients are not considered legally able to sent to sex, so intercourse with them constitutes statutory rape.

Candace A. Seelbinder, 35, of Ashland Avenue, Niagara Falls, admitted to third-degree rape and was scheduled for sentencing Feb. 28 by Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III. He warned Seelbinder that she could go to prison for as long as four years, would become a registered sex offender, might lose her nursing license and could be barred from ever working at a rehab facility in New York State.

Seelbinder, who married another man last month, was charged along with Jessica Griffin, 38, of Tonawanda, who was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor in September and is awaiting sentencing. Both were fired after having sex with the same man. Seelbinder also was indicted on a charge of having sex with another male patient Feb. 28, but she wasn't asked to admit to that Friday.



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