BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi woman from Greene County says in a lawsuit that she suffered a miscarriage hours after a paramedic raped her in the back of an ambulance.
She is among six women claiming they were sexually assaulted by a longtime paramedic at ASAP EMS Corp., a Laurel, Mississippi-based company that provides emergency services in Alabama and Mississippi.
All six women — three each from Greene and George counties — have filed lawsuits against James Lavelle Walley and ASAP for gross negligence, negligence and other claims, The Sun Herald reported. One of the lawsuits has since been voluntarily dismissed because the statute of limitations of three years had expired.
The suits were filed in January and February in Greene County Circuit Court after Walley was arrested in one of the cases.
In October, Jackson County sheriff's investigators arrested Walley on a charge of sexual battery involving one of the lawsuits. He is free on a $20,000 bond.
Walley remains under investigation, with more charges expected once evidence in that case and others are presented to grand juries for possible indictments. In each of the cases, the alleged victims are considered vulnerable persons because they were suffering from medical issues requiring emergency services. The alleged crimes spanned from June 21, 2014 to Sept. 15, 2018.
The lawsuits seek unspecified damages from ASAP for the failure to provide standard of care and for the failure to properly train or supervise its ambulance drivers. Other damages are sought for gross negligence and negligent hiring and retention because, court papers say, the ambulance company had known about Walley's "propensity for sexual violence for a number of years, but chose to turn their heads, resulting in the injuries."
Additional damages are sought for emotional distress for physical injuries and mental trauma.
The plaintiffs are asking for compensation to cover medical costs, attorney' 'fees, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and disability issues.
Leakesville attorney Joe Beard filed the lawsuits on behalf of five alleged victims identified as Jane Does 1-5. He declined comment.
A second attorney, Joshua W. Danos of the Ocean Springs law firm Bordis & Danos, did not want to comment on the lawsuit he filed on behalf of the woman who miscarried after her alleged assault.
The Sun Herald also contacted attorneys from the Gulfport law office of Wise, Carter, Child and Caraway, who are representing ASAP, which has denied any wrongdoing. They said they could not comment on pending litigation.
Since the lawsuits were filed, ASAP has asked for a change of venue for the civil trials, saying they would be unable to get a fair trial in Greene County courts because of pre-trial publicity.
Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com