Client claims Pinellas drug rehab director propositioned her - WFLA News Channel 8

Client claims Pinellas drug rehab director propositioned her

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© 29 Year old Korrine Burdick complained to her probation officer that Simply Hope director propositioned her © 29 Year old Korrine Burdick complained to her probation officer that Simply Hope director propositioned her
© The Pinellas Drug Court referred Korrine Burdick to Simply Hope in 2009 © The Pinellas Drug Court referred Korrine Burdick to Simply Hope in 2009
PINELLAS PARK, FL (WFLA) -

A former client of a Pinellas county drug rehab program called Simply Hope claims the director told her he could make her problems with the court go away, if she gave him what he wanted.

Korrine Burdick complained to her probation officer that Simply Hope director Ray Harris propositioned her.

"He's well I know, I'm in control here and basically what I say goes and you can either give me what I want or you can go to prison," Burdick said.

Korrine Burdick was arrested 3 times in 2008 and 2009 for illegal possession of drugs. Instead of jail, the drug court referred her in November 2009 to Simply Hope.

Burdick told her probation officer that director Ray Harris started hitting on her shortly after she arrived at Simply Hope.

"I had this horrible bad vibe weird feeling about it like I immediately called my mother right up, I (was) just like mom this guy gives me the creeps," Burdick said.

Simply Hope offers housing for drug abusers.

"Simply Hope is a very structured program that had very good success," Public Defender Bob Dillinger said.

Dillinger's office pays Simply Hope to house mentally ill clients. Burdick was not a client of Dillinger's office.

Burdick complained to her probation officer that Harris told her she was pretty, he was attracted to her and complimented parts of her anatomy.

Records show Harris showed up in the middle of the night at the Simply Hope house in which she was staying and demanded she provide him with a urine sample for a drug test. He claimed she tested positive.

"And it was like 12 o'clock at night and he's like you're dirty for cocaine and I'm like that's impossible and he's like pack your stuff up, you know get out of here, meet me at my office at I think he said at like 10 in the morning," Burdick said.

Dillinger has a problem with that.

"A man should not be going into a woman's residence to get urine samples," he said.

Burdick claims she met Harris in his office the next morning, alone.

"And he's like whatever I write down in the report is what you've done wrong," she stated.

Records show Burdick told her probation officer that Harris propositioned her and that Harris told her everything with the court would be ok if she gave Harris what he wanted.

"I started to get up and he came around and he kind of sat me back down and started rubbing my shoulders and he's like you like I said you just give me what I want, give me what I want," Burdick recalled.

She said she left the office, and then ran from the program, violating her probation.

"I was scared, I didn't know what was going to happen," Burdick said.

Harris, a former drug abuser with a criminal record, discharged Burdick from Simply Hope.

Records also show she failed two late night drug tests he administered in her apartment.

She contends she was clean.

Harris refused to comment. He referred 8 On Your Side to his attorney John McAvoy.

As Burdick's probation officer looked for her, according to probation records, a drug court manager advised him that Burdick had accused Harris of attempting to have sex with her, but that Burdick had taken it back and admitted she was lying. In an interview with 8 On Your Side Burdick denies that.

"I did not take anything back, ever," Burdick said.

Burdick's lawyer in 2009 was John McAvoy, the same John McAvoy who later represented Harris. McAvoy said he thought Burdick took back the allegation.

When asked if representing Harris posed a conflict of interest, McAvoy said he did not think so. He later withdrew from representing Harris.

Burdick was arrested for violating her probation.

A judge sentenced her to a year and a day in state prison.

She said she didn't bring to the court's attention what happened between her and Harris, because she claims her lawyer advised her it would probably hurt her.

Now 4 years later the sheriff's office is conducting a criminal investigation of Harris.

Another female client claims he touched her.

Harris' new attorney Denis DeVlaming is investigating the allegations.

In the meantime, the public defender's office has removed all female clients it placed in Simply Hope, the drug court has stopped referring females to the program, and Harris' attorney has advised him to stay away until the sheriff's investigation is complete.

Detectives interviewed Korrine Burdick two weeks ago.

"He didn't get what he wanted from me. I can thank my daddy for that, but I have more respect for myself than that, I didn't want to stoop to that level and give him what he wanted," Burdick said.

 

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