06/28/13 — Man found guilty of sexual battery

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Man found guilty of sexual battery

By John Joyce
Published in News on June 28, 2013 1:46 PM

A former Cherry Hospital physicians assistant was convicted in Wayne County Superior Court Thursday on charges of sexual battery.

His alleged victim was a nurse who worked under him at the mental hospital's medical unit.

James Jay Otey, 61, of 201 Stevens Mill Road, received a suspended sentence of 30 days in Wayne County Jail and 12 months of unsupervised probation. He was fined $100.

Otey, a 30-year medical professional and U.S. Coast Guard veteran, was charged by Cherry Hospital police on Sept. 4, two days after the assault took place.

Otey was accused of inviting the victim to his office after her shift was over for a massage to "fix her back."

She went willingly to his office, at which point he closed the door with the keys left in the lock.

That is where the similarities in the victim and defendant's stories ended. His version concludes with the massage, hers with sexual battery.

The state's case was argued by Assistant District Attorney Donya Strong, who produced witnesses, including supervisors and co-workers, to whom the victim reported the incident and showed bruises.

The defense's only witness was the defendant.

On the stand, Otey admitted to giving several massages during his tenure at Cherry, and to this being the only time he had done so behind closed doors.

He characterized his own actions as "foolish," but maintained his innocence.

He claimed that after the massage and a discussion about the nurse's health, she left his office unharmed and unmolested.

His attorney, Geoff Hulse, made the argument that it was a clear case of "he said, she said," with little to no evidence supporting the victim's claim.

Only two pieces of evidence were introduced -- the state's item, which was the victim's statement given to Cherry Hospital police, and the defense's item, the defendant's statement to the police.

The jury convicted Otey after less than two hours of deliberation.