Jose Cruz, 38, charged with sexual battery. A nurse at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center was arrested Monday afternoon after police said he sexually assaulted a patient in his care last week.
Jose Cruz, 38, of Palm Bay, tried to pass inappropriate touching off as part of an examination May 2, according to arrest reports. Police said Cruz told the patient he was checking her body for lesions or other abnormalities.
The patient was initially being examined by Cruz and a female certified nurse’s aide. The patient told police Cruz asked the aide to leave the room to retrieve something. When the aide left, Cruz began to touch the woman inappropriately, police said.
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Detectives said Cruz confirmed "significant portions of the victim’s statement" when interviewed. Cruz told police the exam he gave is commonly referred to as a "four eyes" exam, meaning two pairs of eyes are supposed to be on the patient at all times.
He originally told detectives the aide remained in the exam room before changing his story. Investigators said they noted several discrepancies in his story. Cruz initially said he didn’t touch the patient inappropriately before describing touches that were outside the scope of the normal exam.
At one point during his exam, the woman felt uncomfortable and said she questioned his actions.
Cruz replied by telling her that it was just a routine procedure, police said.
Health First took immediate action after the incident was reported.
“The safety of our customers and associates is a top priority. We are fully cooperating with authorities to assist in the investigation. The associate has been suspended pending the investigation," said Pat Guerry, Health First’s vice president of communications, in an emailed statement.
Cruz was arrested and charged with sexual battery. He is being held at the Brevard County Jail Complex in lieu of $35,500 bond.
Anyone with information is asked to call Melbourne Police Department at 321-608-6461.
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