A nurse at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola was arrested on January 3rd for allegedly sexually assaulting a patient at the hospital. 71-year-old James Bemis faces charges of sexual assault and indecent exposure.
According to the police, a male patient was awake when Bemis performed a lewd act on him in March of 2019. The patient reported this alleged assault immediately.
The Pensacola Police Department tested the patient's bed sheets for DNA and the results were recently returned, leading to Bemis' arrest on Friday.
Bemis had worked at Baptist Hospital for 46 years. He is being held in Escambia County on a $25,000 bond.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard represents sexual assault victims in civil lawsuits. We've asked Michael to share some insight into the legal rights of those who have been sexually assaulted by nurses and other hospital staff members:
Patient safety needs to be taken seriously by officials at hospitals and other medical facilities. While we all expect to feel safe at these facilities, the sad reality is that there have been many cases of patients being sexually assaulted by nurses, doctors, and other trusted medical professionals. The victims of these heinous crimes deserve justice and should be aware of their legal rights.
When a patient is sexually assaulted by a hospital staff member, it's important both to investigate the allegations and to determine if the hospital met its legal duty to protect patients. Some of these crimes are preventable and may not have happened if not for negligence by the hospital - such as failing to report previous allegations of sexual misconduct involving the employee.
In hospital sexual assault cases involving negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the hospital or staff member who sexually assaulted them.
If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted by a nurse, doctor, or another medical professional, you can learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation with one of our experienced sexual assault victims lawyers.