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January 22, 2014

Peru woman gets jail time for switching senior's drugs

PLATTSBURGH — A former shift supervisor at the Samuel F. Vilas Home will serve jail time for replacing an elderly woman’s prescription pain medication with Tylenol. 

Tamara M. Terry, 38, of Peru was sentenced Tuesday by Clinton County Judge Patrick McGill to six months in jail and five years of probation after she pleaded guilty to first-degree endangering the welfare of an elderly person, a felony, according to a news release from the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office.

Terry “consistently” substituted the 93-year-old’s Oxycodone with over-the-counter Tylenol, the DA’s Office said in the release.

‘BETRAYED TRUST’

“It was enough that it affected the woman’s health,” Clinton County Assistant District Attorney Domenica Padula said in the release, adding that the woman was in pain because she was not getting the proper medication.

“This defendant was trusted to provide care for the elderly but was found to have betrayed that trust in a way that was not only disgusting but criminal,” said Padula, who prosecuted the case.

Terry was originally charged in April 2013 with first-degree endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person and second-degree assault, a felony.

The Vilas Home, which is located at the corner of Beekman and Cornelia streets in Plattsburgh, had notified Plattsburgh City Police about the medication switch.

Leora Schneider, the new administrator of the Vilas Home, declined to comment Tuesday.

Terry must undergo a substance-abuse evaluation and follow any treatment recommendations as part of her probation sentence, the release said.

‘TELL POLICE’

“It is very scary to have something like this happen knowing that you have to continue to depend on other people to survive,” Padula said, looking at the crime from the perspective of a person whose medication is stolen. 

“This reality can be particularly debilitating to elderly victims who have no other choice but to push through the fear and to trust that there are more good people out there than not.”

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