Charge reduced for EMT accused of sexual assault

2013-05-03T06:32:00Z 2013-12-11T08:13:48Z Charge reduced for EMT accused of sexual assaultKRISTEN ZAMBO kristen.zambo@journaltimes.com Journal Times

RACINE — Racine County prosecutors on Thursday filed a reduced sexual assault charge against a Kenosha County ambulance crew member accused of having sexual contact with a seizure patient bound for a Racine hospital.

Jodin D. Froeber, 37, a Somers Fire and Rescue emergency medical technician, is accused of sexually assaulting the then- 20-year-old woman in the back of the ambulance on July 19, 2011, after she reportedly suffered several seizures while at a Kenosha County Girl Scout camp.

The reason prosecutors decided to file the reduced sexual assault charge Thursday “is based on further investigation into the effects of the drugs that were administered to the victim in this case,” Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Arn said during the hearing. This amended charge “more closely fits (the allegations.)”

The reduction in this charge knocks 20 years off the maximum prison sentence Froeber could face if he is convicted.

The amended charge, third-degree sexual assault, is a Class G felony, which is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison, up to five years on extended supervision and a $25,000 fine if convicted. His previous charge, second-degree sexual assault, is a Class C felony. Froeber faced up to 25 years in prison, a maximum of 15 years on extended supervision and a fine capped at $100,000 for that charge.

“We are still anticipating a trial posture in this case,” defense attorney Jonathan LaVoy said during the hearing.

Racine County prosecutors charged Froeber on Aug. 16, 2012, with one count of second-degree sexual assault. The Somers man is accused of sexually assaulting the woman in the back of the ambulance on July 19, 2011, en route to Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints hospital, 3801 Spring St. They were driving from Trefoil Oaks Program Center in Somers, where summer day camp programs are offered, according to Froeber’s criminal complaint and the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Southeast.

The camp is a few yards from Racine County, an investigator has said.

There have been no accusations of wrongdoing occurring at the camp site, from which the woman was transported by ambulance.

The woman reportedly told Racine County sheriff’s investigators that Froeber lifted up her shirt and she heard a camera “click” before Froeber allegedly slid his hand down the woman’s pants and twice fondled her, according to court records.

Froeber was the only person in the back of that ambulance with the woman, according to the complaint and investigators.

According to an opinion issued by a defense medical expert, a drug given to the woman to treat seizures — Valium — impairs memory, and seizure patients typically are in a state “similar to a deep sleep” right after the episode.

“I have no opinion on whether (the woman) is being truthful in her allegations, because she could sincerely believe that these events occurred,” wrote Milwaukee physicians assistant Jeffrey G. Nicholson. “However, given her physical and mental condition at the time of the alleged incident, it is equally if not more likely that the alleged actions did not occur as she perceived them.”

Nicholson wrote that the woman’s mental state at the time was “severely compromised,” and “her perception simply cannot scientifically be believed or accepted as valid under the circumstances.”

Froeber was placed on paid administrative leave after he was charged in August.

Circuit Judge Charles Constantine scheduled a hearing for June 14 and reset Froeber’s trial for Aug. 26. A tentative trial date of May 14 previously was set.

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