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Thief River Falls nurse to be jailed in drug case

A Thief River Falls nurse accused of fraudulently procuring prescription drugs was sentenced Friday to 14 days in jail and five years of supervised probation.

Sarah Sabol, 31, received the same penalty as Melissa Beier, who worked as a nurse with Sabol and was netted in the same investigation.

Beier, 34, was sentenced in December. Both women pleaded guilty to a controlled substance crime in the fifth degree.

According to court documents, Sabol and Beier told police that a doctor they worked for got them hooked on prescription drugs and ensnared them in a scheme to obtain thousands of pills to share with the doctor.

That doctor, Denise McSherry, has been part of a wider investigation involving prescription drugs, but has not been charged.

The nurses told police they posed as another doctor, Eloise-Marie Clark, to get prescriptions.

Clark testified Friday that she felt betrayed by Sabol's actions, said Sabol's attorney. Steven Light.

"(Clark) read a statement detailing how troubling this was to her and how it led her to seek legal counsel," Light said.

Sabol was ordered to pay $2,266 in restitution to Clark for her legal fees, said Assistant County Attorney Kristin Hanson, who prosecuted the cases of Sabol and Beier.

Light said his teary-eyed client apologized repeatedly to Clark in court, saying she is an excellent doctor who had no knowledge of the plot to get drugs.

Light argued for a lighter sentence, pointing out that his client took responsibility for her addiction and cooperated with authorities.

"She got herself into treatment before this ever came to the attention of law enforcement," he said.

Hanson said Sabol, over a long period of time, abused her position as a nurse, one that comes with a duty to patients. Light said there's no proof Sabol's care of patients was ever compromised during that period.

The prosecutor expressed hope that Sabol and Beier will overcome their problems.

"They're good people with addictions, and hopefully they can get treated and get this behind them," Hanson said.