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Peterborough

Former EMT Bouchard sentenced to one year on drug theft charges

  • Former Peterborough paramedic Jeremy Bouchard, left, will serve 90 days in prison Friday after pleading guilty to possession of drugs charges.

    Former Peterborough paramedic Jeremy Bouchard, left, will serve 90 days in prison Friday after pleading guilty to possession of drugs charges. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Former Peterborough paramedic Jeremy Bouchard, left, will serve 90 days in prison Friday after pleading guilty to possession of drugs charges.

    Former Peterborough paramedic Jeremy Bouchard, left, will serve 90 days in prison Friday after pleading guilty to possession of drugs charges. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Salutotorian Mariah Maki wished her fellow graduates well in verse: "Jump out of the nest feet first and soar / Take the time to discover and explore. / I wish you all, in whatever comes your way, the best of luck / And remember us, your faraway friends, if you ever get stuck."

    Salutotorian Mariah Maki wished her fellow graduates well in verse: "Jump out of the nest feet first and soar / Take the time to discover and explore. / I wish you all, in whatever comes your way, the best of luck / And remember us, your faraway friends, if you ever get stuck." Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Former Peterborough paramedic Jeremy Bouchard, left, will serve 90 days in prison Friday after pleading guilty to possession of drugs charges.
  • Former Peterborough paramedic Jeremy Bouchard, left, will serve 90 days in prison Friday after pleading guilty to possession of drugs charges.
  • Salutotorian Mariah Maki wished her fellow graduates well in verse: "Jump out of the nest feet first and soar / Take the time to discover and explore. / I wish you all, in whatever comes your way, the best of luck / And remember us, your faraway friends, if you ever get stuck."

MANCHESTER — Jeremy Bouchard, the former clinical director for the Peterborough Fire and Rescue Department who pled guilty to possession of controlled drug charges earlier this year, will serve 90 days in jail, after being sentenced on Friday in Hillsborough County Superior Court. As a condition of the sentence, which came about through a plea agreement, Bouchard will permanently surrender his license to work as a paramedic.

Bouchard was arrested in August 2013, following an investigation into drugs that were missing from one of the Peterborough ambulances. Bouchard had been working as an ambulance medic since 2009 and became the town’s clinical director in November 2011. He continued to work as a paramedic while serving as clinical director. Bouchard resigned from the department shortly after his arrest.

In February, Bouchard pleaded guilty to two charges — possession of morphine and possession of fentanyl. Under a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped a third count that had charged Bouchard with theft by authorized taking.

The only part of the plea agreement where prosecutors and Bouchard’s attorney disagreed was on the length of a prison sentence.

At Friday’s hearing, Assistant Attorney General James Vara said Bouchard admitted, when he was questioned by police, that he had been stealing drugs for his own use. Vara requested a one-year sentence, noting that Bouchard’s paramedic’s license had been suspended in March 2013 for 90 days. Vara said that Bouchard had admitted then that he had stolen fentanyl for his own use.

“He was given a second opportunity,” Vara said. “Not only was he stealing, he was also changing medical records.”

Vara said patients were suffering if they were not given appropriate amounts of drugs.

Bouchard’s attorney, Philip Utter of Manchester, agreed that records had been falsified, but he insisted that no patients had been at risk. He said Bouchard “went to some length to make sure patient records were accurate” and that he had managed to take the drugs by attributing their loss to waste that occurs when full doses aren’t used for a patient.

Utter said Bouchard has admitted that he became addicted to drugs.

“Before this, he had no criminal record,” Utter told Judge Kenneth Brown. “He was not taking drugs to sell them. He was using them. His addiction was a terrible thing.”

Utter said Bouchard was thankful he had been caught and went directly into rehab when he was released on bail after his arrest.

“Ninety days in jail will be a significant punishment for him,” Utter said.

During the hearing, Bouchard’s brother, Zach Bouchard, and his current employer, Andrew Robblee of Antrim, spoke in support of the lighter sentence.

“‘Jere’ lost control of his freedom,” Zach Bouchard said. “His decision was rash, immature and downright stupid.”

But he said Bouchard, who had been dealing with significant family issues, had sought treatment.

“He’s worked ever since,” Zach said. “He’s trying to put his life back together piece by piece. Jere’s been scared straight.”

Robblee, who had given Bouchard a job with his tree service company after Bouchard was released on bail, said he was disappointed that friends, family and co-workers didn’t do more to help Bouchard the first time his paramedic’s license was suspended.

“There’s a lot of regret on our part,” Robblee said to Brown. “I’m asking you to be lenient. He’s going to have to start from scratch.”

When he spoke to the judge, Bouchard said he was grateful he had been arrested.

“It did save my life,” he told Brown. “I have the rest of my life to show my children that you can start again. I have a long road ahead of me. I’ve stayed clean.”

Bouchard said he had broken down and made terrible mistakes that have cost him his career.

“I loved being a paramedic,” he said. “I know I’ll never be able to do the job I loved. I have accepted the fact that I’m an addict.”

Brown sentenced Bouchard to one year in jail on the possession of fentanyl charge, with nine months suspended on conditions of good behavior, that Bouchard continue drug and alcohol treatment and counseling, be on probation for three years, pay $620 in fines and penalty assessments and permanently surrender his paramedic license. Bouchard was given a suspended seven year, three and a half month sentence and suspended fines on the possession of morphine charge.

Brown said that given Bouchard’s clean record, he most likely would have received a completely suspended sentence if not for the fact that he had taken advantage of his position as a paramedic.

“Ninety days will be sufficient,” he told Bouchard. “Don’t squander this one. I wish you luck.”

“Thank you very much, your honor,” Bouchard replied.

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