A North Carolina paramedic has been accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl who was in his care.
The 17-year-old girl was being transported to Atrium Health on Jan. 17 when the paramedic, employed by Fort Mill Emergency Medical Services, allegedly put his hand inside the girl’s pants, according to WCNC-TV in Charlotte. The man was the only paramedic in the back of the ambulance at the time.
The girl had experienced a medical episode and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said there was no medical necessity for him to touch the girl in such a way, WCNC reported.
Upon arriving at the hospital, the girl notified medical staff of the incident.
Detectives ultimately concluded that there was enough evidence to arrest the paramedic, who was identified as 31-year-old Akingbiwaju Joseph Opadele.
NC EMT accused of sexually assaulting girl in ambulance, released on bail less than hour later https://t.co/8f8lwhSX9c
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 11, 2023
Opadele was arrested on March 7 and has since been charged with felony sexual contact under pretext of medical treatment, the CMPD reported. He was released the same day after making a $15,000 unsecured bond.
According to Fox News, Opadele was held in jail for only 37 minutes.
CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings condemned Opadele and his quick release in a Thursday news briefing, as well as on Twitter.
in our society? I look forward to continued work on the Pretrial Integrity Act to bring greater accountability to pretrial release conditions. (2/2)
— Chief Jennings (@cmpdchief) March 9, 2023
“Everyone within the criminal justice system has a responsibility to ensure that our community and our citizens are safe,” Jennings said, according to Fox.
“And we own that, we will always own that within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department,” he said.
He continued, “And I think it’s important that we have to stop sometimes and ask ourselves, you know, what kind of message are we sending to our victims? Our most vulnerable people within our society?
“That someone can basically create such a crime or do such a crime as this one, and walk right out the door, probably before our officers and our detectives and all of our people that worked on this case, probably before they even got back to their desk.”
Jennings also expressed hope that a bill called the Pretrial Integrity Act would soon be passed by the state legislature, saying that the bill could help prevent early releases.
The concept of the bill, he said, would “take some of these difficult decisions out of the hands of the magistrates and allow the judges to make those calls as far as pre-trial is concerned,” Fox reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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