A man accused of sexually assaulting a Springfield woman while she was a sedated patient in his care pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday.
Samuel P. Conkel, 24, of Beavercreek is charged with sexual battery and gross sexual imposition.
Conkel worked for a patient transporting company, First Care Ohio, as an EMT. Investigators said he sexually assaulted a woman who was sedated while he attended her during a transport from Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton to a Southbrook Care Facility in Springfield, according to court records.
The woman felt Conkel touching her inappropriately, Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said, and DNA evidence found on a blanket that covered her matched Conkel.
“This has to go down as one of the worst cases that we’ve ever had to investigate,” Kelly said.
Conkel had no previous criminal record.
First Care Ohio President Dennis Young issued a statement to the Springfield News-Sun stating that Conkel is no longer an employee of the company.
“Like all employees, he was subject to a full, comprehensive background check at the time of his hiring which identified no issues,” the statement said. “First Care Ohio will continue to take every precaution to protect the health and safety of those in its care.”
The victim spoke to the Springfield New-Sun and asked not to be identified. She wanted to report the crime, she said, because she was afraid an assault would happen to someone else.
“I just felt like what if that was my mom?” she said. “What if that was my sister or family member that it happened to?”
She tries not to think about the assault much, she said.
“I just want him to be a man and admit that he made a mistake and that he’s not allowed to do it anymore,” she said.
She said she was discouraged from reporting the crime by Southbrook Care Center employees but staff members there denied that claim.
The center followed all protocol in reporting the crime, Southbrook Administrator Christine Dosland said.
Sheriff Kelly said Southbrook employees appeared to respond quickly.
If convicted of both charges, Conkel faces a maximum of six and a half years in prison. A preliminary hearing in his case will be scheduled soon, Clark County Municipal Court Judge Eugene Nevius said.