It's back to rehab for former "American Idol" finalist Jessica Sierra. The singer appeared in court Monday morning (January 7) in Tampa, Florida, and pleaded no contest to charges of disorderly intoxication and obstruction of an officer, which prompted Judge Daniel Perry to reluctantly agree to send her to rehab for a year.
The Tampa Tribune reported that Perry sentenced Sierra to spend the next year at the Pasadena Recovery Center in Pasadena, California — a facility he had reservations about because it has hosted TV programs in the past. He was concerned that Sierra might use the stint as a means of boosting her career, the paper reported.
"I don't want this to be some steppingstone for her to have a career as a recovering addict," Perry said.
Sierra's sentence also includes two years of probation, stemming from an incident on December 1 at a bar in Ybor City, Florida, during which the singer allegedly got into a heated confrontation with bar personnel and police after she was ejected from the bar. Perry also prohibited Sierra from doing any interviews or appearing on TV during her recovery, including any promotional spots for the upcoming reality show, "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew," which debuts on VH1 this Thursday.
The host of that program, Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction specialist, spoke on Sierra's behalf during the brief court appearance, according to the paper, telling the judge that the "low level" treatment she received on the reality show was not enough to deal with her level of addiction, but that a yearlong stint in treatment would give her a better chance for recovery. A spokesperson for the courts did not return calls for comment at press time and Sierra's lawyer, John Fitzgibbons, could also not be reached for comment.
During the December arrest, Sierra, 22, was ejected from the Full Moon Saloon and, after confronting patrons on the street, allegedly became combative with police as they tried to arrest her, calling the officers names, vomiting in the police car, yelling racial slurs and offering sexual favors in exchange for her release, according to an arrest report.
The arrest violated Sierra's probation from an incident in April of last year, which resulted in charges of cocaine possession and felony battery, after she allegedly hit a bar patron in the head with a glass; she also pleaded no contest in that incident. Tampa TV station WTSP reported that Perry warned Sierra that if she doesn't follow the rules of the rehab center she will be brought back to Florida and put in prison for a year.
Pinsky said that Sierra had already completed her portion of the "Rehab" show before the December arrest, and he described her as a "courageous" patient, who had been "on the street" doing drugs before she sought treatment. He also said the singer, who is pregnant with her first child by a man she has only described as "a rapper," made some "very poor choices" during her drug-using phase, including a video the paper said he described as "symptomatic of her addiction." Pinsky and Sierra reportedly discuss the video — which TMZ has reported is a sex tape — on the show.
In a preview of the VH1 show screened by the Tribune on the day before Sierra's sentencing, the paper described a scene from the second episode of "Rehab" during which Sierra breaks down in tears while discussing her mother's death from a drug overdose while the singer was auditioning for "Idol." During the group therapy session, Sierra talks about how she hates her mother for abandoning her, doing drugs and becoming a prostitute and becomes so upset after revealing the information that she becomes desperate for a drink, saying she would have "chewed the alcohol swabs" at the facility if she could have.