Ex-medic who pleaded guilty to assaulting 6 patients in ambulances sentenced

James Lavelle Walley apologized Monday after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual battery and two counts of touching a child for lustful purposes


Mary Perez
The Sun Herald

PASCAGOULA, Miss. — A former Mississippi Coast paramedic who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting six patients in the back of ambulances was sentenced to decades in prison on Monday.

James Lavelle Walley, 58, pleaded guilty in May to three counts of sexual battery and two counts of touching a child for lustful purposes before Jackson County Circuit Judge Robert Krebs.

He also admitted to fondling two children ages 5 to 7 when the crimes occurred.

Several of his victims were in the courtroom to hear the verdict.

Walley, a married father of four from Greene County, read from a prepared statement at times.

"I want to take the opportunity to say I'm sorry, I really am," Walley said.

He turned to address the victims seated in the audience, and repeated, "I'm sorry,"

While the women and their families cried, Walley said, "I'm asking you, begging you to forgive me."

Judge Krebs wasn't swayed by Walley's apologies or his plea for leniency so he could help raise his 6-year-old son.

Krebs sentenced him to serve a total of 40 years in the state penitentiary, day to day — with no chance for parole — along with fines of $1,000 on each charge, lab fees and payments to crime victims' funds.

"He should be in his late 90s before he'd ever be eligible to get out," said Jackson County District attorney Angel Myers McIlrath, who prosecuted the case.

Walley has been in jail since 2019. His crimes were committed between 2016 and 2019. he was attacked while he was in jail, he said and had his jaw broken.

"Even at the plea, even at the plea, the court noted and even notes today that the defendant still tried to marginalize these ladies," Krebs said.

He read through every case, Krebs said, piling the paperwork in front of him.

At the plea, Krebs said he laid out the graphic details of each sexual molestation and asked Walley, charge by charge, if he did what it said on paper.

Krebs said Walley admitted under oath that he did all those things.

When it came to the charges of touching of the young children, Walley cried.

"Well you deserve tears, too, and you didn't get it from him," the judge told the women victims in the courtroom.

McIlrath laid out each attack that began in 2016 when he abused two young children.

The adult victims are residents of George and Greene counties and Walley, a certified paramedic for ASAP Ambulance, assaulted them en route to hospitals when he was in the back with the patients and another person drove.

In April 2018, a Greene County woman who was pregnant 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.

She was treated terribly and lost her baby, McIlrath said.

In September 2018, another victim had attempted suicide and was being transported to a Jackson County hospital.

Walley was in the back of the ambulance, on top of victim who was in and out of consciousness, she said.

"It's just so unbelievable that that could happen," she said.

The judge and district attorney said if not for two women who demanded a rape kit, Walley may have gotten away with his crimes.

He was "so brazen and bold and arrogant and out of control," McIlrath said.

It was the ambulance driver who said to do a rape kit after one victim complained, she said.

"And the nurse said, 'I'm gonna do it,' even though she had pressure not to do it. She did it anyway," McIlrath said.

His semen was found inside of that victim, she said.

Not all of the victims chose to be in court, "but all of them are represented and had a voice in the courtroom today," McIlrath said.

Krebs apologized to the victims for any members of law enforcement or anyone in the system who doubted them. The legal system has problems not just dealing with racism, he said, but misogyny too.

"So again, my apologies that you weren't believed," he said.

McIlrath praised the sheriff's department and the medical staff who performed a rape kit.

"And I also want to be clear that our Jackson County Sheriff's Department did a phenomenal job investigating, and they did believe, and so I'm really proud of what happened at the hospital and in our Sheriff's Department," she said.

Sun Herald reporters Margaret Baker and Jesse Liberman contributed to this article.

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(c)2022 The Sun Herald

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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