Former Lake health worker gets probation for water testing shortcuts
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org October 4, 2012 3:22PM
Updated: November 6, 2012 6:26AM
A former Lake County Health Department employee must pay $1,000 after admitting he started cutting corners for testing local drinking water.
During the sentencing hearing Thursday morning, U.S. District Judge James Moody also ordered Richard Bates, the former director of the Lake County Health Department laboratory, to serve one year of probation in exchange for pleading guilty to three counts of making false statements.
Bates, 67, of Cedar Lake, was charged earlier this year of not properly calibrating testing equipment in the laboratory that was used to test drinking water from businesses and wells of residents.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office subpoenaed records from the office in 2009, the same year the lab closed.
Inspectors from the Indiana State Department of Health had previously found during a visit that one of the testing meters for nitrate “was not functioning properly.”
Judge Moody asked during the hearing at the U.S. District Court in Hammond if Bates took the shortcuts because he received a payment from someone. However, Bates said it just came down to taking shortcuts on all the tests. His attorney, Adam Tavitas, called it laziness.
“What a way to end your career,” Moody said during the hearing.