Nurse Accused Of Stealing Painkiller Gets Probation

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A former nurse charged with stealing drugs from one of her surgery patients will serve no prison time, as part of a plea deal struck Thursday in Hennepin County Court.

Sarah Casareto was accused of stealing her patient’s pain medication before surgery last fall so she could have it herself.

The 33-year old nurse from Forest Lake was sentenced to three years probation as part of the plea deal. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors reduced Casareto’s charge of theft to possession. This means, presuming she doesn’t do drugs or drink during probation, her criminal record will be wiped completely clean in three years.

The alleged victim told us he sees what happens today as a big slap on the wrist.

“It’s hard to talk about,” Bloomington resident Larry King said.

Abott Northwestern hospital logs show Casareto took 500 micrograms of fentanyl from storage. Police say Casareto gave King, who works as a Carver County Deputy Sheriff, only one-third of the medication he was supposed to have before kidney stone surgery.

“I can’t really describe what it’s like laying on that table when they cut you open, and you can hear and feel everything that they’re doing to you,” King said. “I don’t believe justice was served. The same penalty that a child on the street with some crack cocaine gets is what she walked out the door with today.”

King said he remembers Casareto telling him to “man up,” appearing visibly intoxicated during surgery.

“My client didn’t do what they said she did. This is an Alford Plea; this is a plea where we simply state that, yes, we will plead guilty to avoid the risk of a trial and a conviction,” Casareto’s attorney Brian Toder said.

Toder continued to point to his client’s innocence, saying he’s convinced Casareto would have been acquitted in the event the case went to trial.

“There’s going to be a dismissal, and Sarah can go back to being the good nurse that she is,” Toder said.

Casareto declined to comment.

The judge said the decision was made because he said Casareto proved to be undergoing treatment, she was sober since February and this was her first offense.

As for what’s next, King’s attorney said he’ll likely sue Casareto in civil court.

Casareto’s attorney says the nurse plans to go in front of the state nursing board and attempt to get her license back.

  • Dave's Not Here

    There should be a special prison for folks who do this to others. I find no valid excuse for this woman’s actions and sincerely hope she is severely punished for what she’s done. This is inexcusable.

  • Larry

    As someone who has experienced kidney stones, this woman needs to feel the same pain she subjected this poor guy to. Another liberal judge not doing his job.

  • Brad

    “You stole, used a controlled substance, and caused a man to go through surgery without medication. I might just have to punish you. You’re on probation young lady.”

    *insert slap on the wrist*

  • Elmo

    So much for taking a tough stand on crime. Was this the Hennepin county attorney’s office that caved in on this?

    Who approved a plea deal so favorable to the perp???

    And which judge decided a slap with a wet noodle was sufficient punishment?

    And how will the public be protected from being “cared for” by this pathetic excuse for a nurse?

  • Gloria

    This, next-to-nothing punishment is not justice served by any means. She should be made to serve prison time!

  • TL the alligator

    this judge and prosecutor sicken me.

  • just sayin

    Good luck with a medical career with this on your record lady.

    • Posh

      Read before you speak. “… the [her] record will be wiped clean.”

      Just like OJ and Casey Anthony — “Commit the crime but do no time.”

  • Joke

    Absolutely disgusting outcome. I hope people never forget her picture.

  • Jake

    Gee, I thought that a ‘slap on the wrist’ was only for property crimes, where nobody gets hurt. So much for that. The county attorney and judge should be looking for new jobs soon.

  • red


  • roy bean

    I agree – the county attorney handling this case, his or her supervisor who approved the plea, and the judge should all lose their jobs. This rivals the incompetence our politicians displayed when they had to have yet another special session.

    It’s a public “injustice!”

  • realtalkk

    OJ gets let off, Casey Anthoney gets let off, nd now i read BS like this? welcome to america i guess, land of the free…….

  • tom

    After a few months she will be back in the medical profession somewhere and no one will be the wiser!

  • Robert

    A young male with an Alford Plea of possession of crack cocaine will have that on his record for life. This nurse stole FENTANYL from a surgery patient causing incredible pain. The judge lets her off with probation before judgement????? 3 years probation and her record is expunged? Just goes to show how F’d up the Judical system is in Hennepin county.

  • Anonymous

    Good people sometimes do bad things and there is a little thing called forgiveness. I’m sure that as a nurse Sarah has done many, many good deeds, let’s not forget these. Good luck to you Sarah on your recovery and sobriety! And per Larry King’s comments today he still needs to “man up”.

    • insignificant

      she shoulda ,at the very least ,gave him a shot o’ jack or two before the surgery,eh?…thats what i would call “manning up”

    • Sunny

      Dear Anonymous. You must be a family “friend” of the EX nurse. Hey…lets go stick a knife in your back – no pain meds – and see how the hell you feel! Moron! Oh….will you forgive me? You must be an addict yourself!

  • wow

    Wow, justice really failed here. She basically tortured this guy and gets away with it.

  • Yep

    At least he can sue her. She will be paying for this for a long time through wage garnishment. Maybe we will all get lucky and she will overdose on something before too long.

  • Sarah

    I will definitely ask if she works at any hospital I ever go to.

  • Caregivers Stealing Patients’ Pain Medication in Minnesota | Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm Blog

    […] only one-third of the medication he was supposed to have before kidney stone surgery.  Click here to view the WCCO […]

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