CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A North Carolina EMT has been arrested after sexual assault allegations surfaced by a female teen who said she was victimized by the man during transport to the hospital for a medical related issue, the Western Journal reported.
Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit took Akingbiwaju Joseph Opadele, 31, into custody and charged him with felony Sexual Contact Under Pretext of Medical Treatment, according to authorities.
The City of Charlotte provided the following details in a news release:
On January 17, 2023, the 17-year-old female victim was transported by Fort Mill Emergency Medical Services from Fort Mill to Atrium Health Main (1000 Blythe Boulevard) after she experienced a medical episode. Upon arrival at Atrium Main, the victim reported to hospital staff that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Opadele while in the back of the ambulance during the drive to the hospital. Mr. Opadele was the only person in the back of the ambulance at the time. He was employed as a paramedic with Fort Mill EMS.
The victim was treated at the hospital for her medical episode and also received a sex assault kit and examination. Following laboratory analysis of the sexual assault kit and examination of physical evidence and victim and witness testimony, detectives determined there was probable cause to charge Mr. Opadele.
A warrant was issued and on March 7, 2023, the suspect was arrested at this home with the assistance of the Kannapolis Police Department and the CMPD’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team (VCAT).
NC EMT accused of sexually assaulting girl in ambulance, released on bail less than hour later https://t.co/8f8lwhSX9c
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 11, 2023
Opadele was booked at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center on Tuesday and subsequently released less than one hour later on a $15,000 unsecured bond.
CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said Opadele was in jail for just 37 minutes before he was released on the unsecured bond, Fox News Digital reported.
“Thirty-seven minutes,” Jennings said during a Thursday press conference. “I want you to think about how short of a time period 37 minutes is.”
Jennings expressed frustration with the bail system in Mecklenburg County. He asked reporters to think about the hours of work that went into investigating the case, developing probable cause, obtaining a warrant and making an arrest.
“Everyone within the criminal justice system has a responsibility to ensure that our community and our citizens are safe. And we own that, we will always own that within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department,” Jennings noted.
“And I think it’s important that we have to stop sometimes and ask ourselves, you know, what kind of message are we sending to our victims? Our most vulnerable people within our society?” he exhorted. “That someone can basically create such a crime or do such a crime as this one, and walk right out the door, probably before our officers and our detectives and all of our people that worked on this case, probably before they even got back to their desk.”