Wilkes-Barre, PA — A former nurse who worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs appeared in federal court after being accused of assisting with surgery while under the influence of alcohol.
Richard Pieri, 59, has been charged under the Federal Assimilated Crimes Act, which permits state crimes to be charged in federal court if the crime occurs in federal jurisdiction.
Pieri is facing a $5,000 fine and up to two years in prison for the crime if he is convicted.
The preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 4 and Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito Jr. has allowed the former nurse to remain out of jail, pending the hearing. But he is to remain alcohol free and stay in the state of Pennsylvania.
According to Prosecutors Pieri had been drinking at Mohegan Sun Pocono the night of Feb. 4, even though he was on call. He was paged to assist with emergency surgery and rather than tell them he couldn't come, he arrived at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Plains drunk and is observed on video staggering into the facility and almost falling into a concrete barrier in the parking lot.
Pieri resigned from his nursing position on March 2, after the facility initiated disciplinary action and the state Board of Nursing suspended his license the same week.