MELBOURNE, Fla. — A nurse assistant at a Melbourne hospital is facing sexual battery charges after a patient said she was groped during a medical examination — and investigators suspect it might not have been his first time.
- Holmes Regional hospital nurse assistant accused of sexual battery
- Patient said he groped her while they were in an exam room
- Detectives say worker's contact "exceeded scope of examination"
Jose Juan Cruz, 37, a certified nurse assistant at Holmes Regional Medical Center, was taken into custody by Melbourne Police on Monday on a felony count of sexual battery and a charge of simple battery.
Bond was set Wednesday at $205,000 for the two counts. A judge also ruled that Cruz was able to obtain his own attorney, and will not rely on a public defender.
According to detectives, the patient was in a room at the hospital last Thursday when Cruz and a second hospital employee came in to conduct a "skin assessment" exam.
The second employee then left the room, leaving the patient alone with Cruz. While the two were in the room, the patient said Cruz touched her "in a manner that exceeded the scope of the examination," police said.
"He did things that would be considered sexual assault and battery," Melbourne Police Lt. Scott Mostert said. "There was a complaint involving him in the past. We don't know if it was here or a different time in his career."
Detectives interviewed Cruz the next day, and they said he confirmed most of the patient's account of what happened.
During Cruz's first appearance before a judge Tuesday, the state told Judge Michelle Baker that Cruz violated policy by not having two people in the room when conducting the skin assessment. And according to an interview with the nurse in charge, Cruz was not authorized to do that type of test, investigators say.
After speaking with Cruz, Baker decided to revoke Cruz's bond until his private attorney can speak on his behalf.
“i will leave it at no bond until tomorrow and readdress it then," she said.
Holmes Regional Medical Center said Cruz has been suspended pending the results of an investigation.
"We are fully cooperating with authorities to assist in the investigation," Marketing and Communications System Vice President Pat Guerry said in a statement.