St. Joe’s nurse pleads guilty to sexual misconduct, drug charge

A former nurse at St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers has admitted to giving drugs and having sexual contact with a patient who was receiving treatment at the Saranac Lake facility.

Jessica Dresser, 31, of Plattsburgh, pleaded guilty this week to one count of sexual misconduct and one count of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both of which are misdemeanors, according to a press release from the state Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.

Dresser will be sentenced next month to 60 days in jail and six years of supervised probation, the press release states. As a condition of her plea, she agreed to surrender her nursing license, and her name will be entered on the state sex offender registry.

The Justice Center says Dresser engaged in sexual conduct with a person receiving in-patient treatment for an opioid addiction in February 2016. On one of those occasions, Dresser 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 operated, licensed or certified by the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services is a crime. St. Joseph’s is licensed by OASAS.

“The defendant not only violated the law to satisfy her own sexual gratification,” Justice Center Special Prosecutor Gunning said in the release, “but she also subjected the victim to a possible setback in treatment. People responsible for the care and rehabilitation of those who suffer from addiction need to know that disruptions in treatment caused by such misconduct will not be tolerated.”

Dresser is scheduled to be sentenced June 23 in Franklin County Court in Malone.

Gunning thanked the Saranac Lake Police Department and state police for their assistance with the investigation and arrest. Justice Center Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor Rachel Dunn is prosecuting the case.

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