Nurse pleads guilty to stealing opioid patches from patients

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – A central Illinois nurse has pleaded guilty to stealing opioid patches from terminally ill nursing home residents.

The Pantagraph reports that 31-year-old James Rellihan pleaded guilty to residential burglary. Five other charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.

Prosecutors said Rellihan was working as a nurse at Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center but was not on duty when he entered a resident’s room on Feb. 24 and took a pain patch. They say he also removed a patch from a terminally ill person two days later at a Normal facility where he previously worked.

Rellihan faces a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison when he’s sentenced July 25, though his lawyer is expected to ask for probation.

He must surrender his nursing license.