An emergency medical technician accused of fondling a patient aboard an ambulance will spend one year in jail.
Anthony Louis Green, 46, of Goose Creek, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct Wednesday in a Charleston County Circuit Court.
Judge Thomas L. Hughston sentenced him to five years, with a suspended sentence, reducing it to one year with two years of probation. He also will remain on the sex-offender registry for life.
Green, who served two tours as a combat medic in Iraq and Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to an evaluation.
Green's defense attorney, Megan Ehrlich, asked the judge to sentence him to treatment rather than incarceration.
"Even the strongest individual would be impacted by those experiences," Ehrlich said in court. "I think he's a good man who made a terrible mistake."
Hughston commended Green for the service to his country, but said his sentence dictated the "seriousness of the offense" that occurred June 11, 2011.
The victim, who will remain unidentified, was being taken to Roper Hospital in Charleston from Mount Pleasant after she was injured in an alleged domestic violence dispute, according to prosecutors.
She was strapped to a backboard, a precaution for potential back injuries, and placed in an ambulance for the trip to Roper. Green was the EMT treating her in the back of the ambulance.
EMS workers had given the patient a medication to ease the panic from the domestic violence assault, said Assistant Solicitor Debbie Herring-Lash.
"She was immobilized," she said.
Green reached down her shirt and shorts and fondled the patient, according to prosecutors. When they arrived at the hospital, the patient told hospital staff what happened.
After tests were positive for DNA, Green confessed to police and "stated he knew she was physically helpless at the time," according to Herring-Lash.
The victim was not at the hearing because she is out of the state, but her attorney, Sam Allen, released a statement that read in part: "It's disturbing that the sentence is so light relative to the violation of trust that was committed by Mr. Green. He was entrusted with my client's care at a most vulnerable time and violated that trust in the most inappropriate fashion one could possibly imagine."