NEWPORT NEWS (Tribune News Service) — A former emergency room nurse at the Hampton VA Medical Center was convicted Friday of sexually assaulting a patient who already suffered mental trauma from a previous rape.
A federal jury in Newport News issued guilty verdicts against 52-year-old Juan Lopez of Virginia Beach on charges of aggravated sexual assault and making false statements to a federal agent, according to a news release. The rulings followed a three-day trial.
Prosecutors say Lopez was working as an ER nurse at the Hampton VA on Sept. 20, 2014, when a woman sought treatment for a leg injury. The woman suffered from post traumatic stress disorder after being raped while in the military, officials said. Further, she twice received traumatic brain injuries.
Lopez, who was responsible for the victim's treatment, drugged her with morphine against her wishes and sexually assaulted her multiple times while she was under the effects of the drug, according to the Department of Justice news release.
Questioned by agents five days later, "he lied about the event," the release added.
Lopez, who was taken into custody after trial, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. Sentencing is set for May 19.
The case was investigated by the VA Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Hurt and Jeremy Jehangiri from the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Justice Department prosecuted the case. Judge Mark S. Davis presided.
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