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Conn. Paramedic Accused of Ambulance Sex Assault

Updated at 12:34 p.m. PST

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — A paramedic raped a woman as she lay unconscious and strapped to a stretcher in the back of an ambulance on the way to a hospital, police said Friday.

The 22-year-old woman, who had fallen and suffered a concussion at a holiday party, says she woke up to find the man assaulting her inside the ambulance on Dec. 25, according to Hamden police. She said she could not move because she was strapped down.

Mark Powell, 49, of North Haven, surrendered Thursday to face charges of first-degree sexual assault and unlawful restraint and was released on $25,000 bond. He did not respond to a phone message seeking comment, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Hamden Police Chief Thomas Wydra said the allegations represent "outrageous and horrifying conduct" by an emergency medical professional.

"Our society places the greatest level of trust and confidence in its public safety providers, and the circumstances in this case reflect a tremendous breach of that faith. The victim in this incident demonstrated enormous strength and courage in bringing this complaint forward," he said.

Police responded to the report of the woman's fall around 3 a.m., and she was treated at the scene. She was allegedly assaulted en route to Yale-New Haven Hospital and contacted police after she was released.

Powell was the only person in the American Medical Response ambulance aside from a driver and the victim, according to Hamden Police Capt. Ronald Smith. He said investigators are still conducting interviews and waiting for lab results, but charges are not expected to be filed against anybody else.

AMR spokeswoman Deborah Hileman said it is a national standard to have only one person in the back of the ambulance during the transport of a patient.

The company said Powell has been placed on administrative leave.

"This kind of behavior is an affront to AMR caregivers across Connecticut who provide high quality care to their patients each and every day, with integrity and compassion," AMR General Manager Charles Babson said.



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