Thursday, May 27, 6:05 p.m.
By Jon Meyer
Nurse Found Guilty of Assault
The verdict is in for a nurse accused of assaulting two women patients in Luzerne County. A jury found John Pambianco of Trucksville guilty of assaulting one woman, but not guilty of assaulting the second woman.
The jury started deliberating about shortly after noon. Thursday morning friends and family of Pambianco testified he is a man of high moral character that would never cross the line with a patient.
But two alleged victims said they know what inappropriate behavior is and they were Pambianco's victims.
Pambianco stood outside the courtroom waiting with his family as the jury deliberated his fate. He was a nurse at Mercy Hospital last year when, the women testified, he fondled their breasts, groin and buttocks several times. The two were in the hospital for heart conditions. They were wearing wired heart monitors. Pambianco's defense is that he was just adjusting those patches.
One victim testified she was afraid to come forward right away, telling the court, "I couldn't believe it. I thought no one would believe they have a pervert working on their staff."
Prosecutor Ingrid Cronin said in closing arguments that his acts were "a violation of the sacred trust between health care workers and a patient".
But in his closing argument, defense attorney Joe Nocito told the jury that the patient may be mistaken about what happened. He said other nurses who testified saying that touching inappropriate places is sometimes part of the job.
After the verdict was read, one juror said the testimony was very difficult to listen to, especially since she is a woman. She said she will think twice before going to a hospital after listening to the testimony in the case. She felt the evidence was there to convict Pambianco.
The nurse was charged in 2000 with abusing a patient at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Those charges were dismissed. Now he waits to hear what the jury has to say about these charges.
Pambianco no longer works at Mercy Hospital but he is still holding an active license to be a nurse in Pennsylvania.