A mental health provider formerly employed by Orleans County is under investigation by police in Rochester after the body of a missing man and 17 bags of crack cocaine were found at the provider’s home, authorities said.
Police have charged Dr. William Lewek of Rochester, a licensed psychiatrist, with tampering with physical evidence and possession of drugs with intent to sell them.
On Thursday, police found the body of a 32-year-old man in the backyard of Lewek’s home on Rowley Street in Rochester.
Lewek, 62, a drug addictions counselor, told police that he put the body there after moving it from a third-floor bedroom in his home, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Pleas of not guilty were entered on Lewek’s behalf.
“The defendant concealed the body by covering it with dirt, grass, debris and a patio chair,” said police Investigator Randy Benjamin in court papers. The dead man, Matthew Straton of Rochester, had been missing since Oct. 28, police said. His family told the newspaper Straton had battled with substance abuse issues.
According to multiple media reports in Rochester, Lewek treated patients at the Orleans County Mental Health Clinic in Albion for nine years, from August 2002 until January 2011. The reports quoted Orleans County officials as confirming Lewek had worked for the county.
The Buffalo News was unable to reach county officials Saturday evening, but according to county records from January 2011, Lewek worked as a staff psychiatrist for the county’s Mental Health Department for seven hours a week, making $128 an hour.
Lewek also has worked for several other counties and mental health agencies, according to media reports. He was arraigned in a Rochester court on Friday and held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
The 17 bags of crack cocaine were found hidden in a sneaker in Lewek’s bedroom, police said.
Police and the Monroe County district attorney’s office are continuing to investigate Straton’s death, and further charges could be filed, authorities said.