Akingbiwaju Opadele charged with sexually assaulting teenagers
A 31-year-old paramedic in North Carolina was arrested last week for allegedly sexually assaulting an underage teenager in the backseat of an ambulance earlier this year. Akingbiwaju Joseph Opadele was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with an offense of sexual contact under the pretext of medical treatment, authorities said.
According to a press release from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the victim was a 17-year-old who experienced an unspecified “medical incident” on Jan. 17. She was transported by Fort Mill Emergency Medical Services from Fort Mill to the Atrium Health Main, located on Block 1000 of Blythe Boulevard.
When the victim arrived at the Atrium Main, the victim reported to hospital staff that Opadele had sexually assaulted them while they were in the back of the ambulance on their way to the hospital. Opadele, a Fort Mill Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedic, was the only person riding with the victim in the back of the vehicle at the time, police said.
Medical staff at the hospital treated the victim for her medical episode and also performed an additional exam and sexual assault kit.
After analyzing the sexual assault kit, examining physical evidence, and interviewing the victim and witnesses, detectives determined that there was probable cause to arrest and charge Opadele.
Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Opadele and on March 7 officers from the CMPD Violent Criminal Apprehension Team, with the support of the Kannapolis Police Department, took Opadele into custody at his home. After several attempts to question Opadele by detectives, he was transported and committed to the Mecklenburg County Detention Center.
He was released the same day on $15,000 unsecured bail.
In a subsequent press conference, officials said the victim accused Opadele of putting his hands down her pants on the way to the hospital.
“The type of medical episode she suffered did not require touch,” said CMPD Major Melanie Peacock. “This case is particularly disturbing as it involves a person in a position of medical authority taking advantage of a patient with a medical episode. I can’t think of anything that constitutes a deplorable breach of trust.”
CMPD chief Johnny Jennings took the opportunity to attack the county’s bond system, claiming Opadele spent less than 40 minutes in jail before the law “allowed him to opt out.”
“I think it’s important that sometimes we have to stop and ask ourselves, you know what kind of message are we sending to our victims? Our most vulnerable in our society?” said Jennings. “That someone can basically create a crime like this or commit a crime like this and walk right out the door, probably before our officers and our detectives and all of our people who worked on this case, probably before they even got back to their desk .”
Opadele has been placed on administrative leave pending his case before the court. Meanwhile, Fort Mill EMS conducts its own internal investigation.
Watch the press conference below.
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