Former Miss. paramedic admits to sexually assaulting patients during transport

James Walley admitted to raping a pregnant patient, sexually assaulting other adults, and fondling two children


Margaret Baker and Jesse Lieberman
The Sun Herald

GREENE COUNTY, Miss. — A former Mississippi Coast paramedic pleaded guilty Monday to sexually assaulting patients in the back of ambulances while en route to Mississippi hospitals for medical care.

James Walley, 57, a married father of four from Greene County, also admitted to fondling two minor children ages 5 to 7 when the crimes occurred.

Walley made the admissions when he pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of sexual battery and two counts of touching a child for lustful purposes before Circuit Judge Robert Krebs.

District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath is prosecuting the case that involves crimes committed by Walley at different times between 2016 and 2019 while Walley worked as a certified paramedic for ASAP Ambulance. This company serves patients in Alabama and Mississippi.

Sentencing is deferred until a later date when victims are allowed to share how the crimes affected them.

Among the victims was a pregnant Greene County woman who tried to fight off Walley in the back of the ambulance as he raped her on her way to a hospital in Jackson County, records show. The woman lost her baby within hours of the attack. Walley had sexually assaulted her twice on the ride to the hospital, records show.

Each time the assaults occurred in the ambulance, Walley was in the back, and someone else drove the ambulance. In each case, records say, the drivers did nothing to intervene, though they denied any knowledge of the attacks.

Walley had no prior criminal history before his arrest.

Victims filed Mississippi lawsuits

More details about what the victims suffered at Walley's hands came to light in lawsuits filed on behalf of at least six of Walley's adult victims he assaulted in the back of the ambulances during emergency trips to South Mississippi hospitals.

Leakesville personal injury attorney Joe Beard represented the victims from George and Greene counties in most cases. Attorney Joshua Danos represented at least one of the victims from Jackson County.

"These were some of the most horrible civil cases I've ever had to file just because of the nature of the crimes," Beard said Monday after hearing Walley had entered guilty pleas to some of the criminal charges in a plea deal with the state. "You know, when we get in an ambulance, we expect to be taken care of, not sexually assaulted."

The civil cases have been settled and dismissed.

Targeting vulnerable adults in sex crimes

In each criminal case, the victims are described as vulnerable adults because they had a medical condition that required emergency care when Walley attacked them.

In one case, a woman attempted suicide with prescription pills and an ASAP ambulance responded. The woman accused Walley of sexually assaulting her in the back of the ambulance around Sept. 15, 2018, while headed to a hospital in Forrest County.

In another, a woman with mental health issues overdosed on drugs in Leakesville around June 8, 2018. ASAP Ambulance responded, the records say, and Walley sexually assaulted the woman in the back of the ambulance on the way to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg.

Another assault occurred, records say, around April 5, 2018, when a woman over 65 and suffering from pneumonia says Walley sexually assaulted her in the back of an ambulance on the way to George County Hospital in Lucedale. The woman said Walley sexually assaulted her a second time the same day when an ASAP ambulance drove her from the hospital to a new medical facility.

In another incident, a Greene County woman over the age of 65 accused Walley of sexually assaulting her around March 2018 in the back of an ASAP ambulance while headed to a Mobile infirmary. The ambulance service had initially picked her up at George County Hospital. The victim has since died.

Facing life in prison

Walley is facing life in prison if he's sentenced to the maximum of 30 years in prison on each sexual battery charge and 15 years each on the molestation charges.

ASAP Ambulance fired Walley after his arrests.

The George, Greene and Jackson County sheriff's departments investigated the cases.

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(c)2022 The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.)

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