City taking action to stop rentals at home of Rochester psychiatrist serving time
By Chris Horvatits
July 23, 2015
The City of Rochester is making a move to stop rentals at a home where a psychiatrist lived.
The psychiatrist, Doctor William Lewek, is serving time in prison for burying a man’s body in his backyard. Doctor Lewek pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, admitting to burying Straton’s body last year. The home where Lewek lived on Rowley Street has two apartments. We’re told he lived in the front apartment.
According to the lawsuit, undercover Rochester police officers were able to buy drugs at least three different times from people living in the back apartment. Now, the city wants to shut down the home entirely. Lewek’s attorney, Matthew Parrinello, says he was surprised to receive this notice.
The three undercover buys by the police department were followed by a raid on the house on Rowley Street in which officers found 11 grams of methamphetamine, 100 ecstasy pills, 13 grams of pot and just under $5,000. That raid was on June 2. This week, city lawyers filed administrative charges against Lewek who owns the house under what’s known as a nuisance abatement process.
“Businesses, they accumulate points and once they accumulate enough points, points get in place for illegal activity on a premise,” says city spokesperson Jessica Alaimo.
The raid occurred on the same property where officers found the body of Straton in January of last year. Lewek was arrested for tampering with evidence and eventually pleaded guilty. He’s now serving a year and a third to four years. Lewek’s attorney is now controlling his affairs. Parrinello says Lewek had no idea the two men mentioned in the suit were living in that apartment.
“I know it names two individuals,” says Parrinello. “One of which we’re familiar with but we’re not sure if those are the folks that are alleged to have sold the narcotics out of the apartment.”
Parrinello says the tenants are being evicted. The city says, in cases like these, it tries to avoid legal proceedings if it can.
“Something in this case where we have already evicted everybody that was living in that apartment,” says Parrinello. “I’m hopeful that will settle it.”
Right now, Lewek is in the Elmira Correctional Facility. He could be out on parole as early as August of next year. His lawyer says when he does get out; he’d like to have the option to still rent out that back apartment so he can have some income.
Lewek’s attorney has not yet responded to the city’s action. Parrinello spent the day working on that, but he says they definitely will be. Again, both sides say they’re working toward an out of court settlement.