Coast paramedic faces more charges for sexually assaulting women, records say

A Coast paramedic has been arrested on new felony charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman while she was being transported by ambulance to a Jackson County hospital.

The Jackson County grand jury indicted James Lavelle Walley, 55 and a native of Greene County, on two felony charges of sexual battery.

Walley was a paramedic for the Laurel-based ASAP EMS Corp., which provides services in Alabama and Mississippi, when the victim was allegedly sexually assaulted twice on Sept. 15, 2018, in the back of the ambulance.

In addition, a Jackson County grand jury indicted Walley on another charge of sexual battery for allegedly assaulting another woman while she was being transported by ambulance on April 18, 2018.

Walley is currently out of jail on bond.

Six women — three each from George and Greene counties — said in lawsuits against Walley and ASAP that they were victims of sexual assaults at Walley’s hands.

One of the women from Greene County said in her lawsuit that she lost her unborn child hours after Walley raped her in the back of an ambulance.

In each case, the women are considered vulnerable persons because they were having medical issues that required emergency services at the time of the alleged sexual assaults.

All but one of the lawsuits is still pending. One of the woman had to dismiss her suit because the three-year statute of limitations for filing the litigation had passed.

In the each of the lawsuits, the women say they were sexually assaulted while they were patients being transported by ambulance for medical treatment.

The lawsuits were filed in Greene County Circuit Court.

Attorney Joe Beard is representing the plaintiffs.

The women are asking for unspecified punitive and compensatory damages for gross negligence, negligence and other claims.

ASAP is accused of failing to provide the victims the standard of care and for failure to properly train, or supervise its ambulance drivers. The women accused the ambulance company of gross negligence and negligent hiring and retention because, the court records say, ASAP knew about Walley’s “propensity for sexual violence for a number of years, but chose to turn their heads, resulting in the injuries.”

The alleged assaults occurred at different times between as early as June 21, 2014, to as recent as Sept. 15, 2018, records say.

ASAP and Walley’s attorneys have declined to comment on the pending litigation. Since the initial filings, ASAP was granted a request to seal much of the information included in the pending lawsuits.

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Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.