Ky. ambulance company, EMTs sued for removing teens clothes
One of the medics faces criminal charges from the Dec. 2 incident
By Kenneth Hart
The Daily Independent
GREENUP, Ky. — The Elliott County Ambulance Service and two of its employees are being sued by a woman who claims one of the workers improperly removed her teenage daughter’s clothing while she was being transported to a hospital after suffering a head injury.
One of the defendants, Casey G. Berry, 31, of Morehead, also has been charged criminally in connection with the alleged incident, which occurred on Dec. 2.
The suit was filed Thursday in Greenup Circuit Court on behalf of the girl’s mother by Ashland attorney John Vincent. The mother’s name isn’t being published because it could serve to identity the girl, who is listed as “Jane Doe” in court papers. The Independent doesn’t identify alleged victims of sexually related crimes without their permission.
According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim was playing in a basketball game at Elliott County High School when she fell and hit her head on the court. Emergency personnel were summoned, and Berry and his co-defendant, Nicholas Porter of Sandy Hook, responded.
Berry and Porter determined the girl needed to be transported to a hospital because she was experiencing concussion-like symptoms, the suit states. She was placed in the back of an ambulance with Berry while Porter drove. An assistant coach from the girl’s team also was on board, but “was forced to ride in the front of the vehicle despite asking to be in the back” with the girl, according to the suit.
The ambulance took a “lengthy and circuitous” route to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, and, during the trip, the victim continued to complain of concussion-like symptoms, the suit states.
Berry, “without medical necessity and to satisfy his prurient interest,” cut off the girl’s clothing, leaving her in " a state of almost complete undress, including the complete removal of her top,” the suit alleges.
The incident constituted a sexual assault on the girl, an invasion of her privacy and voyeurism as defined by Kentucky law, the suit maintains. The action seeks unspecified damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, physical distress and discomfort and outrageous conduct.
The complaint also accuses Porter of helping to facilitate the assault by taking a lengthy route to the hospital and by preventing the assistant coach from riding in the back with the girl. The ambulance service is accused of negligence for allegedly failing to properly hire or screen its employees.
Berry has been charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree official misconduct in connection with the incident. Both charges are Class B misdemeanors. The maximum penalty for each is a $250 fine and 90 days in jail.
According to Vincent, Berry is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 1 in Greenup District Court. He said it was also his understanding that Berry had surrendered his EMT license.
It was not immediately known whether Porter is still employed by Elliott Ambulance. Director Homer Lewis did not return a phone call seeking comment on Thursday.
Claims made in civil lawsuits state only one side of an issue. Under the law, the defendants have 20 days from the date they are served to respond to the allegations.
(c)2014 The Daily Independent (Ashland, Ky.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services