St. Joe’s fired staffer accused of intimacy with patient

SARANAC LAKE — St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers officials say they told police one of their employees had been romantically involved with a patient and subsequently fired the worker.

“On Dec. 29, 2018, St. Joseph’s administration became aware of alleged inappropriate contact between a staff member and a resident in treatment with our Veterans Program,” St. Joe’s Communication Director Jim Grant wrote in an emailed statement Wednesday. “St. Joseph’s priority is always the welfare and safety of our clients. Upon learning of the alleged incident, St. Joseph’s Administration immediately placed the staff member on administrative leave and contacted law enforcement authorities. Subsequently, an internal investigation was conducted into her behavior resulting in the termination of her employment.

“St. Joseph’s remains focused on the welfare of our clients, including specifically the clients in our Veterans Program, and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in this process.”

Village police charged St. Joe’s nurse Erica Holtz of Vermontville with rape in third degree Tuesday. Holtz began working at St. Joe’s in September 2017. Police Chief Charles Potthast said Holtz allegedly had sexual encounters with a patient in November and December of 2018.

“These were two adults, and there was no force or manipulation,” Potthast said. “But by the statute, a patient in a rehab cannot give consent.”

Holtz was arraigned in the Harrietstown town court and released under the supervision of the Probation Department to reappear in court at a later date.