SAO declines charges in EMS rape case

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By Merab-Michal Favorite

The 12th Judicial State Attorney’s Office has declined to file sexual battery charges against a 39-year-old EMS paramedic accused of raping his partner in December, due to a lack of evidence.

The incident allegedly occurred in Holmes Beach July 5, 2013, at the West Manatee Fire District Station, 6001 Marina Dr, where the coworkers were assigned as partners during an overnight shift.

The woman, 23, filed a formal report to the Manatee County Human Resources Department Aug. 14, 2013, alleging that the suspect had entered her bunk while she was trying to sleep and choked and raped her. The two had not previously worked together.

Courtney Hollen, the assistant state attorney assigned to the case, said she decided to take no action because she believed the state would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect had committed sexual battery. On Feb. 28, she issued an interdepartmental memorandum declining any further action.

“Even with the victim’s cooperation, there were no witnesses, no injuries, no excited utterances and no admission from the defendant. Therefore, the charge will be declined,” Hollen wrote in the memo.

Hollen also wrote that because the woman did not report the crime for over a month, there was no way to determine whether the intercourse was forced.

The man allegedly admitted to having sex with the woman, but said it was consensual. He also stated in the report that the woman became upset the next morning when he didn’t ask for her phone number.

Law enforcement officials interviewed the woman’s regular paramedic partner who had relieved her of duty so she could file the complaint Aug. 14. He stated that he believed the sex was consensual based on some of the statements the woman made, according to Hollen’s memo.

The male paramedic was dismissed from his EMS position in September with a stipulation that he could not be rehired for three years, according to the county human resources department. He had worked for the county for over five years.

He was first put on a six week unpaid suspension, then terminated on sexual harassment charges, according to officials.

The woman is still employed with Manatee County, according to Teresa Kersey, of the human resources department.

According to the police report, the woman alleged that while she and the man were on duty, he began making sexual comments to her and showing her nude pictures of himself. When she decided to go to sleep in the bunks provided for employees, he allegedly climbed into bed with her and began kissing her neck. When she pulled away, she said he choked her and forced her to have sexual intercourse with him.

After she reported the incident, law enforcement officials asked her to do a controlled phone call to the man, but she refused to participate. She later told the prosecutor she had declined the controlled phone call because she didn’t believe it would work.

 

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