Sorry for all the trouble —(The Suffolk Times)

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The Suffolk Times

Updated: 6/15/2009 – 2:04 PM

By ERIN SCHULTZ |STAFF WRITER

Frank DiPillo’s fiancée, sits outside her Cutchogue home Friday afternoon, two days before entering rehab. The suit behind her is for Mr. DiPillo’s upcoming court appearance on several criminal charges.

He’s sorry and his fiancé; feels sorry for him.

Ex-Marine and Purple Heart recipient Frank DiPillo apologized from jail this week for his erratic behavior in recent months, including arrests for attempted burglary, drunk driving and endangering the welfare of a child.

“I’m sorry this has happened,” the Cutchogue man said Friday during a telephone interview from the Suffolk County jail. “I didn’t mean to disturb the community.

“Mr. DiPillo’s fiancé;, Idalia Birt, told The Suffolk Times that she plans to help Mr. DiPillo — a troubled war hero for whom she was recently jailed — but not until she sobers up and deals with a forgery charge.

Quietly sobbing in court last Thursday, Ms. Birt pleaded not guilty to three charges: forging a prescription for the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, criminal possession of stolen property and violating public health law for having prescription drugs without the original container.

She was released in order to enter a drug treatment facility. She said she has paid the price for an addiction to prescription drugs that is out of her control.

“There is an issue here, there is,” said the 32-year-old Cutchogue woman, adding that she is not addicted to street drugs.

Her latest charges come less than two weeks after Ms. Birt was arrested for trying to slip Xanax into a police cruiser for Mr. DiPillo, while he was at court for a plethora of criminal charges, including attempted burglary.

Mr. DiPillo, a 30-year-old Iraq war veteran, had told court officials he was suffering withdrawal symptoms from the medication he takes for post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said Friday on the phone that he’s not getting “all” his drugs at the county jail.

“I don’t know what they are,” he said of the medication he is getting. “They only give you what they think you need.

“Sitting in the living room of the quaint Nassau Point home she and Mr. DiPillo share, Ms. Birt said that if Mr. DiPillo is off his medications for even two days, his mood becomes unstable. And after three days, she “gets scared.

“He’ll wake up, soaked in sweat,” she said. “I don’t want to be around him.

Ms. Birt said Mr. DiPillo was taking high dosages of a variety of medications, including anti-depressant Venlafaxine; Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug; and Depakote, an anti-convulsant. She said she firmly believes that Mr. DiPillo is mentally unstable because of his experience in Iraq.

Mr. DiPillo’s sister, Danielle DiPillo is well aware of her brother’s addictions.

“My brother needs a lot of help with his addiction to drugs and medication … so he can end his dependence on them and begin to build a life for himself,” she said. “And yes, as a war veteran, I hope that he is entitled to some good psychological care.

“Recently, Southold Police said officers have visited Mr. DiPillo’s Bayberry Road home, which he inherited from his grandfather, for several domestic disturbances.

Ms. Birt said she’s been dealing with her fiancé;’s erratic behavior for about a month now. She said she believes that changes in how Mr. DiPillo can get prescription drug refills from the Department of Veterans Affairs affected his behavior.

“He would get into car accidents by himself. He totaled our Acura.” she said. “Just crazy.

“Ms. Birt, an unemployed holistic therapist, said she met Mr. DiPillo in 2007 after he came back from Iraq, shrapnel from friendly fire still lodged in his left leg. For the past five months, she said, she’s been traveling back and forth between Cutchogue and New Jersey, where most of her family lives.

Ms. Birt added that she’d like to raise a family on Bayberry Road with Mr. DiPillo, who has two children from a previous relationship. She has a 3-year-old son of her own who is staying with her mother in New Jersey while she sorts things out — with herself, with the law and with her man.

“I need to know how to deal with it,” she said of her current trouble. “We’re good people.”eschultz@timesreview.com
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