Hamden police began investigating the incident after the woman, who is 22, contacted them Dec. 29. She initially told police she did not remember much about the incident. She had been at a party, was drinking, fell backwards into a mirror and hit her head. She was unconscious when police and an ambulance responded.She was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital. She told police later that she remembered feeling the ambulance employee, whom she could only identify as a white man, “forcefully manipulating her breasts with his hands and pinched her nipples, causing pain.”The woman said the man then put his hand down the front of her pants and beneath her underwear and digitally penetrated her.In a statement to police, summarized in the warrant for his arrest, Powell initially denied any inappropriate contact. Gradually, however, he acknowledged touching the woman’s breasts and pinching her nipple.Powell told officers the woman’s vagina “became accidentally exposed” and he admitted to officers “he inserted his right middle finger into the female’s vagina up to the first knuckle,” the warrant reads. Powell said he manipulated the woman’s vagina for about five seconds and showed them that he moved his finger up and down.”Powell demonstrated this a number of times and at one point stated ‘I just diddled it,'” the warrant states.He also admitted that the woman’s breast became exposed and that “he did pinch the female’s left breast nipple to apply pain stimuli,” according to the warrant.Powell told police he had seen nurses use pain stimuli on patients’ nipples in a hospital, but said “he knew it was not an appropriate technique.””Powell expressed remorse for what he had done, [said] he had made a mistake and a serious lapse in judgment,” according to the warrant. He also told police he had never done anything like that before.Powell told police the ambulance’s lights and siren were on.The emergency medical technician driving the ambulance during the early morning hours of Christmas Day, Heather Gebhardt, told police that she could not remember how long it took to transport the woman to the hospital, but she said Powell told her not to use the lights and sirens. The ambulance run sheet indicated the trip took about 15 minutes.On that same run sheet, police noted, Powell did not note that he used pain stimuli on the woman’s vagina or nipples.Gebhardt told police she could see into the back of the ambulance and that she did not see anything unusual.The woman who was Powell’s patient in the ambulance told friends and her mother of the assault, but said she was concerned she could not prove it. She acknowledged drinking and being drunk.The woman’s mother told police that she asked her daughter if she could have mistook being catheterized.”I’ve played it over in my mind a hundred times,” the woman’s mother recalled her saying. “I know it happened. I was drunk, but not drunk to the point where I’d lose my memory.”An AMR official said the company learned of the allegations against Powell on Jan. 3, and that Powell was placed on administrative leave.”This kind of behavior is an affront to AMR caregivers across Connecticut who provide high quality care to their patients each and every day, with integrity and compassion,” AMR general manager Charles Babson said in a statement. “His alleged actions are not reflective of our dedicated paramedics and EMTs, who hold themselves to the highest standards of professional conduct.”
In Arrest Warrant, Paramedic Admits Hamden Sexual Assault
An American Medical Response paramedic accused of sexually assaulting a patient on Christmas day admitted to police that he fondled the woman’s breasts and used his finger to penetrate her, according to the warrant for his arrest.
Mark D. Powell, 49, of North Haven, was charged Thursday with first-degree sexual assault and first-degree unlawful restraint. He posted $25,000 bail and is due in court Jan. 19 in Meriden.
By DAVID OWENS, Hartford Courant
Mon Jan 9 2012 3:02 PM