Trial began Monday for a former nurse at The Medical Center of Central Georgia charged with sexually assaulting a patient in 2009.
James Melvin Purvis, 57, of Milledgeville, is accused of fondling and kissing a then-33-year-old woman who was in the hospital recovering from a car accident.
Purvis’ attorney, Carl Cansino, admitted that Purvis violated hospital rules by kissing the woman, but he told the jury in his opening statement that he’s not guilty of sexual assault.
Purvis did not touch the woman’s breast, Cansino said. While rubbing her shoulder, his hand started to move toward her breast and he stopped when she asked him to stop, the attorney said.
The woman testified that she was immobilized with a broken leg in a cast and a broken neck in a brace when Purvis came into her hospital room on March 30, 2009. She was wearing only a hospital gown.
Purvis previously had been her nurse, but he wasn’t assigned to her on the day of the alleged assault, the woman testified in Bibb County Superior Court.
The Telegraph is withholding the woman’s identity because she is an alleged victim of a sexual assault.
She said Purvis held her hand while they talked about his recent birthday and her care while he’d been off work.
At one point he began rubbing her shoulder. She said she didn’t think it was strange because of her neck injury.
“Then he started rubbing down toward my breasts,” she testified.
She said she told Purvis to stop and he complied.
She grabbed a pillow and clutched it to her chest. Then Purvis leaned down and kissed her on the lips, she testified.
“If I could have pushed him or gotten up and run away, I would have. I was immobilized,” she said.
The woman used a cell phone to call a police officer friend and filed reports with the nursing staff and police on the day of the alleged assault.
Purvis is no longer a Medical Center employee.
Cansino said Purvis was a registered nurse for 29 years before the incident and worked nine years at the Medical Center with no prior trouble with the law.
Testimony in the case is scheduled to continue Tuesday.
Information from The Telegraph’s archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.