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Trial starts for Wis. medic accused of sexually assaulting patient during transport

The woman testified that she was too scared to scream during the attack, but Timothy E. Ovadal’s attorney says the incident could not have happened


Timothy E. Ovadal, 39, of Madison, is charged with second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree sexual assault.

Ed Treleven
The Wisconsin State Journal

MADISON, Wis. — A Janesville woman testified Monday that as a paramedic for a private ambulance service exposed himself to her after first having touched one of her breasts during a hospital transfer 2 1/2 years ago, she shut her eyes and thought to herself, “This can’t be happening.”

The woman’s testimony opened a scheduled three-day trial for Timothy E. Ovadal, 39, of Madison, who is charged with second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree sexual assault for the May 8, 2019, incident described by the woman, which she said happened as she was being transferred from St. Mary’s Hospital in Janesville to Stoughton Hospital after she sustained a fall.

The woman said Ovadal not only touched her inappropriately and exposed himself but whispered to her that he was going to call her later for sex.

“I know I remember shutting my eyes and thinking, ‘This can’t be happening,’” the woman testified.

But Ovadal’s attorney, Julia Westley, said there is no way that happened because it would have been seen by Ovadal’s co-worker who was driving the Ryan Brothers ambulance, which was equipped with mirrors and a rearview camera so that the driver can monitor a patient in the back of the ambulance to allow as smooth a ride as possible.

“That didn’t happen,” Westley said. “The video is going to show that didn’t happen. What she says happened doesn’t match what’s in the video.”

Dane County Assistant District Attorney Tracy McMiller said in her opening statement that the woman, who struggles with alcoholism, was very intoxicated and had fallen at home. She said the woman was taken initially to St. Mary’s Hospital in Janesville but was transferred to Stoughton because Stoughton has better alcohol treatment capabilities — although the woman testified it was a different medical condition that mandated the transfer to Stoughton.

While the woman was belted to a gurney, she said, Ovadal began removing some EKG lead stickers that were still on her chest, then began fondling her breasts. The woman said he put his mouth on one of her breasts as well and then exposed himself to her, telling her not to tell anyone or he would lose his job.

Later, after police were called to Stoughton Hospital, swabs were taken from the woman’s breast, and Ovadal’s DNA was found in the sample, along with a compound left by human saliva, McMiller said.

During the incident, the woman testified, she was too scared to scream and admitted that at Stoughton she thanked the ambulance crew. But she said as soon as she was alone in her hospital room, she started crying an “ugly cry,” in which she could not catch her breath.

“I couldn’t believe this was happening,” she testified. “I trusted him to take care of me, not take advantage of me.”


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