Former jail nurse accused of fondling inmates acquitted

  1. A jury found a former Pima County Jail nurse not guilty Friday on all 10 felony sex abuse and unlawful sexual contact charges in what his defense attorney characterized as a case of "he said, she said."

    In closing arguments, the defense attorney told jurors the accusations came from felons - among them a prostitute, a bad-check writer and a woman who lied to police about her identity - who conspired to accuse Nurse Christopher Erin Johnston, 29, of sex crimes.

    The motive, he said, was revenge because an inmate felt "violated" after Johnston performed an EKG exam. The exam requires attaching adhesive pads to the bare chest so that electrode leads can be attached in the study of heart rhythm.

    Johnston administered an EKG. He told detectives he may have touched her breasts while attaching the pads but the touching was inadvertent.

    Johnston is no longer employed at the jail and is no longer registered with the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

    One alleged victim, Robyn Sanchez, jailed on a prostitution charge, said Johnston asked her if she "gave good (a sex act)." She also testified he suggested they meet in a bathroom at Wal-Mart after she got out.

    Defense attorney, Hartzell, called the accusers "very criminal women." He told the jury: "It's not against the law to say, 'Do you give good (sex act),' or 'Meet me at Wal-Mart.' "

    The nurse, who did not testify, told detectives his "sarcastic sense of humor" was misinterpreted and that he said "those things just to entertain myself."
    http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/115661.php
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    About Anxious Patient

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,101; Likes: 1,979
    housewife and mother; from US

    28 Comments

  3. by   FireStarterRN
    So, he admitted to saying these inappropriate comments to patients?

    I find his comments appalling, it doesn't matter if the recipients were convicted criminals, we are supposed to treat all patients with the same dignity and respect that we would treat the Queen of England.
  4. by   District46
    Whatever crimes these women may have comitted, doesn't make them fair game for unscrupulous prison staff. They are still women, and even if they were to start this type of banter, the nurse would still have been in the wrong to respond in kind. He should not have spoken to them in that manner. He was guilty in my book and the fact that the law courts dismissed them, is also criminal. If they commited those crimes, it was because they got a bad hand in life, they didn't start out as criminals, and I am sure it they were given the choice of a better, more decent life, with no poverty or drugs, then they would snatch your hand off. This was life dealing them yet another bad hand, to keep them and their self esteem down in the gutter - heart breaking.
  5. by   HIPPIECHIKRN
    No it is not against the law to say some things. But, a "nurse" working in a jail should have known better than to ask how good a "sex act" a prostitute gives. He was highly unprofessional to say the least. It sounds like the alleged victims were blamed because they were incarcerated. Wonder where this guy is now??

    I just read another article on the above post link about the case. This guy sounds really dangerous and sick. In the other article the defense attorney says the defendant "recently revealed a traumatic head injury in his past which requires an independent evaluation to determine what extent potential brain damage may have contributed to the complained-of behavior." There is more to this story.
    Last edit by HIPPIECHIKRN on May 3, '09 : Reason: I found additional information
  6. by   Batman24
    It's not illegal but his comments were inappropriate and unprofessional. I'm glad he's not registered with BON. We don't need people like that in our field.
  7. by   WYDiceDancer
    Quote from agencyangel
    Whatever crimes these women may have comitted, doesn't make them fair game for unscrupulous prison staff. They are still women, and even if they were to start this type of banter, the nurse would still have been in the wrong to respond in kind. He should not have spoken to them in that manner. He was guilty in my book and the fact that the law courts dismissed them, is also criminal. If they commited those crimes, it was because they got a bad hand in life, they didn't start out as criminals, and I am sure it they were given the choice of a better, more decent life, with no poverty or drugs, then they would snatch your hand off. This was life dealing them yet another bad hand, to keep them and their self esteem down in the gutter - heart breaking.
    So, have YOU ever worked in correctional nursing? From your post, my guess is "NO". If you have, I'm thankful that I never had to follow your shift. You sound like a "nice nurse" that wouldn't follow policy and be fodder for the inmates to later blackmail (http://www.amazon.com/Games-Criminal.../dp/0960522603). Nothing about this is story is "heartbreaking". The only thing "heartbreaking" is your willingness to condem one of our own.
    So many questions are brought to my mind when I read this story, like "Where was security?" I've worked at several correctional facilities and in ALL of them required a member of security to be present for all medical visits, for the safety of the nurse. Another question would be "Where were the other nurses?" EKG's are not done just for the hell of it inside, they are limited to suspected cardiac emergencies and when those occur it's "all hands on deck" should CPR or a transport to the ED is needed. Security and nurses appear out of nowhere to help for this type of emergency.
    Inmates BECOME inmates after YEARS of attempting to keep them out. They get chance after chance to go through drug/alcohol rehab, unsupervised and supervised probation, social service referals, mental health counseling, you name it. ALL ON YOUR TAX DOLLAR!!! They have chosen NOT to follow the rules and FINALLY end up incarcerated after exhausting the system. Once inside, they become bored and have all kinds of time to manipulate staff. My guess is this story started out as an attempt at manipulation of the nurse that went all the way and the inmates lost.
    The part of your post that bothers me the most is your lack of understanding for one of your own. Go ahead, throw another nurse under the bus. There are so many out there that want to work in corrections that we have to chase them off with dogs.:angryfire
    I doubt that this nurse was guilty of anything but maybe bad correctional judgement and a worse sense of humor. Last I looked, these were not grounds for losing your license.
  8. by   FireStarterRN
    Uh, the guy admitted to asking a patient if she gave a good 'BJ', that's totally unacceptable under any and all circumstances.

    Working with prisoners doesn't give a healthcare worker a carte blanche to stoop to the lower levels.
  9. by   WYDiceDancer
    Quote from FireStarterRN
    Uh, the guy admitted to asking a patient if she gave a good 'BJ', that's totally unacceptable under any and all circumstances.

    Working with prisoners doesn't give a healthcare worker a carte blanche to stoop to the lower levels.
    What I read was The nurse, who did not testify, told detectives his "sarcastic sense of humor" was misinterpreted and that he said "those things just to entertain myself." He was using his sarcasim to entertain himself, not admitting to specific comments. My guess is the context of what was written in the article could be scewed to make the nurse look bad. I try to give other "warriors in white" the benifit of the doubt when it comes to the media.
  10. by   Jailhouse nurse

    ...a male nurse performing ekg's on female inmates, without a chaperone to back him in case of accusations, and making stupid comments to the patients while doing so?

    bad idea, dude.
    really, really bad idea.
  11. by   Vaxene
    Quote from agencyangel
    whatever crimes these women may have comitted, doesn't make them fair game for unscrupulous prison staff. they are still women, and even if they were to start this type of banter, the nurse would still have been in the wrong to respond in kind. he should not have spoken to them in that manner. he was guilty in my book and the fact that the law courts dismissed them, is also criminal. if they commited those crimes, it was because they got a bad hand in life, they didn't start out as criminals, and i am sure it they were given the choice of a better, more decent life, with no poverty or drugs, then they would snatch your hand off. this was life dealing them yet another bad hand, to keep them and their self esteem down in the gutter - heart breaking.
    ***?!?!! are you kidding me???? if they were offered a more decent life, they'd probably abuse it, then go right back to what they were doing or just commit different kinds of crime. look at the percentages of criminals who become rehabilitated.......or better yet, not rehabilitated. people become criminals regardless of their surroundings....


    Quote from wydicedancer
    so, have you ever worked in correctional nursing? from your post, my guess is "no". if you have, i'm thankful that i never had to follow your shift. you sound like a "nice nurse" that wouldn't follow policy and be fodder for the inmates to later blackmail (http://www.amazon.com/games-criminal.../dp/0960522603). nothing about this is story is "heartbreaking". the only thing "heartbreaking" is your willingness to condem one of our own.
    so many questions are brought to my mind when i read this story, like "where was security?" i've worked at several correctional facilities and in all of them required a member of security to be present for all medical visits, for the safety of the nurse. another question would be "where were the other nurses?" ekg's are not done just for the hell of it inside, they are limited to suspected cardiac emergencies and when those occur it's "all hands on deck" should cpr or a transport to the ed is needed. security and nurses appear out of nowhere to help for this type of emergency.
    inmates become inmates after years of attempting to keep them out. they get chance after chance to go through drug/alcohol rehab, unsupervised and supervised probation, social service referals, mental health counseling, you name it. all on your tax dollar!!! they have chosen not to follow the rules and finally end up incarcerated after exhausting the system. once inside, they become bored and have all kinds of time to manipulate staff. my guess is this story started out as an attempt at manipulation of the nurse that went all the way and the inmates lost.
    the part of your post that bothers me the most is your lack of understanding for one of your own. go ahead, throw another nurse under the bus. there are so many out there that want to work in corrections that we have to chase them off with dogs.:angryfire
    i doubt that this nurse was guilty of anything but maybe bad correctional judgement and a worse sense of humor. last i looked, these were not grounds for losing your license.
    i agree with a lot of this, but his comments were very inappropriate. i know language is used here at my facility sometimes that may be offensive to some people, but hey, we're all humans. you just have to know when you can say what and around who......never anything derogatory and/or in the least bit possible to be misconstrued.


    Quote from firestarterrn
    uh, the guy admitted to asking a patient if she gave a good 'bj', that's totally unacceptable under any and all circumstances.

    working with prisoners doesn't give a healthcare worker a carte blanche to stoop to the lower levels.
    +1


    Quote from jailhouse nurse
    ...a male nurse performing ekg's on female inmates, without a chaperone to back him in case of accusations, and making stupid comments to the patients while doing so?

    bad idea, dude.
    really, really bad idea.
    +1 billion!!!
  12. by   Vito Andolini
    EKG's are often done for work-up's, not just for emergencies, even in jail.

    The nurse should not have said what he said, he should have had an escort of the female gender, and it is interesting that he is no longer licensed.

    Inmates deserve respect and courtesy, just as anyone else does. Yes, it's jail but they are still people, so even if you are just wanting to keep the peace in jail and don't really respect the inmate or see him as a human being worthy of courtesy, be nice. It makes for safety.
  13. by   shah
    The judge gave ruling according to the laws of the country or state. I am not sure he/she was interpreting the nurse practic act of that state. It is not against US/state laws to ask those questions.

    The state nursing board can, however strip him of his license for acting in an unprofessional manner.
  14. by   WYDiceDancer
    Quote from Vito Andolini
    EKG's are often done for work-up's, not just for emergencies, even in jail.

    The nurse should not have said what he said, he should have had an escort of the female gender, and it is interesting that he is no longer licensed.

    Inmates deserve respect and courtesy, just as anyone else does. Yes, it's jail but they are still people, so even if you are just wanting to keep the peace in jail and don't really respect the inmate or see him as a human being worthy of courtesy, be nice. It makes for safety.
    Agreed, but I read the actual newpaper article, and it reports that the inmate was given an EKG for c/o chest pain. No where did it say that this nurse lost his license, just that he's no longer registered with the Arizona BON or employed by the jail. Can't blame him. A job at mini-mart sounds good after an ordeal like that.

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