By James Niedzinski
---- — GLOUCESTER — A Gloucester nurse who works at a Rockport rehabilitation center is facing a series of charges after she allegedly injected a teenager with anti-nausea medication because the teen had fallen ill after an underage drinking party at the woman’s home.
Julie Leonard, 36, of 5 Thompson St., is facing charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, furnishing alcohol to minors, reckless endangerment to children and contributing to their delinquency. She was arrested Sunday by Gloucester police.
Leonard, who works at the Kindred Den-Mar Nursing Home, has been suspended from her position at that facility, officials there confirmed to the Times Tuesday. The statement noted that the allegations are unrelated to her work, and said the company is cooperating fully with the authorities.
Her husband, Mark Leonard, 37, was not arrested, but he is also facing a criminal complaint for furnishing alcohol to minors, reckless endangerment of children, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Gloucester police also notified the state’s Department of Children and Families about the case and the charges. According to the police report, the Leonards also have a 10-year-old daughter, though authorities are unsure whether she was at home at the time of the party or follow-up incidents.
All of the charges stem from an investigation that carried over several days and include several interviews regarding the Nov. 30 party at the Leonards’ home.
In his report, Detective Jeremiah Nicastro said that on Nov. 30, the Leonards’ 17-year-old daughter invited three teenagers and her 23-year-old boyfriend to her parents’ house. While they were there, the teens and the 23-year-old were allegedly drinking vodka, beer and tequila.
The report state that while they were there, nobody was concerned about the Leonards coming home because the teenagers have had “parties involving underage drinking with Mark and Julie in the past” at the house.
According to the report, Mark Leonard arrived home at 9:30 p.m. and began drinking beer with his daughter and her friends, in addition to smoking marijuana with his daughter and her boyfriend. Julie Leonard got home at about 11 p.m. and was observed drinking red wine, the report added.
The police report then indicates that one of the minors at the party began feeling ill and vomiting around 2 a.m. on Dec. 1. After staying overnight, the teenager told Julie Leonard at 11 a.m. that she wanted to be taken to the hospital because, while she felt sober, she was still vomiting.
“Julie explained to her that if she goes to the hospital they will give her an IV and put a tube down her throat,” the report indicates. Julie Leonard then told the minor she was a nurse and had left over medicine from her work at Den-Mar.
Julie Leonard allegedly then used a hypodermic needle to give the teenager an injection of an unconfirmed drug — believed to be Compazine — an anti-psychotic drug that is also used to treat nausea. The report states that the teen felt better after the injection.
The next day, a mother of one of the teenagers heard about what happened and called Mark Leonard. The report states that Mark said his wife “made a bad decision.” According to the report, however, Mark Leonard told one mother that if the police were to get involved, the parents will state that “... it was a tooth whitening tube with no needle and they tricked her but did not really give her an injection on medicine.”
According to the police report, Leonard then called Julie and Mark Leonard this past Sunday — Jan. 13 — to come to the police station, but they stated they would not do so without an attorney.
The District Attorney’s office and officials of Den Mar were soon notified, the report indicates, and Julie Leonard was arrested.
Leonard was arraigned in Gloucester District Court on Monday.
Carrie Kimball Monahan, director of communication for the Essex County District Attorney’s office, said requests for a $10,000 cash bail and for her to be placed under house arrest were denied.
She was released under personal recognizance and is not to have contact with children other than her own throughout the duration of any subsequent hearings or trial. In addition, the report stated that Mark Leonard was cooperative and allowed police to search his home; police did not find any needles or syringes.
Julie Leonard has a pretrial hearing in Gloucester District Court slated for Feb. 8.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.