All Sections

Home | Crime

EMT charged with sexual assault on patient

Union Leader Correspondent

June 09. 2011 10:17PM

BRENTWOOD - An EMT with Rockingham Ambulance has been charged with misdemeanor sexual assault for allegedly making a patient remove some of her clothes while checking for a pulse and 'contraband,' according to court documents.

William Donovan III, 50, of Tuftonboro is headed to trial in August in Rockingham County Superior Court on three misdemeanor counts of sexual assault and two counts of simple assault, court documents show.

Prosecutors wrote in court papers that Donovan - a former state trooper - has faced allegations of inappropriate touching in the past, but no criminal charges were filed in that case.

Donovan was interviewed by Manchester police in 2003 for the same allegation by another woman, Assistant County Attorney Jacqueline Docko wrote.

While Donovan was a student EMT, he was accused of inappropriately touching a patient in his care, according to Docko. His law enforcement career spans from 1982 to 1991, according to court papers.

Revelations about his law enforcement background came to light when lawyers argued over whether certain statements Donovan made during his interview with state police should be excluded as evidence.

Donovan is accused of touching the woman, then 18, on June 11, 2010, while she was riding in back of an ambulance from Exeter Hospital to Hampstead Hospital.

The woman had voluntarily checked herself into Hampstead Hospital because she felt suicidal, according to court records.

Donovan had the woman pull down her pants so he could take her pulse twice during the ambulance ride and also had her top pulled up to check for 'contraband', according to an affidavit by state police Sgt. Jill Rockey.

Rockey's affidavit says that the woman asked another female patient at the hospital if she was checked the same way. The woman also told her mother, who encouraged her daughter to report the matter to staff at Hampstead hospital.

'(She) broke down crying because she was so scared,' the woman's mother told state police, according to the affidavit. She told her mother, 'that something weird happened on the ambulance ride,' the affidavit says.

During an interview with state police, Donovan denied that he had pulled the woman's pants down to check her pulse, according to the affidavit. He also denied having the woman lift her top so he could check for contraband.

'Donovan said he took the patient's pulse on her left wrist,' Rockey wrote. 'He had a pulse oximeter attached to her right finger check her oxygen saturation and her pulse.'

Donovan claimed that the woman had cut herself several times, and also told that to the driver of the ambulance, according to the affidavit. But a review of the woman's medical records by state police concluded the woman did not cut herself recently, according to Rockey.

A grand jury handed down the misdemeanor charges against Donovan in September.

His lawyer, Joseph Mattson, has argued for the woman's medical records to be reviewed by a judge for possible use for the defense, but nearly all of those motions have been filed under seal.

County prosecutors asked Judge Tina Nadeau to have the case moved to superior court last year, even though it's a misdemeanor case, and charged the crimes as Class A misdemeanors.

Donovan could face jail time if he is convicted of the misdemeanor charges. His trial is scheduled for the week of Aug. 8.

Crime Tuftonboro Exeter Hampstead

More Headlines