PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — A former Mississippi paramedic has been sentenced to 40 years in prison without parole, weeks after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting patients in ambulances as they were being taken to hospitals.
James Lavelle Walley, 57, of Leakesville, apologized to his victims during his sentencing hearing Monday, the Sun Herald reported.
“I’m asking you, begging you to forgive me,” Walley said as the women and some of their relatives cried in the courtroom.
Circuit Judge Robert Krebs said he was not swayed by Walley’s apologies.
“He should be in his late 90s before he’d ever be eligible to get out,” District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath said Monday.
Walley pleaded guilty May 9 to three counts of sexual battery and two counts of touching a child for lustful purposes.
McIlrath said Walley committed the crimes between 2016 and 2019 while working as a certified paramedic for ASAP Ambulance. The company serves patients in Alabama and Mississippi, and it fired him.
Each time the assaults occurred in an ambulance, Walley was in the back, the ambulance drivers did nothing to intervene and they denied knowledge of the attacks, court records showed.
Krebs on Monday told the victims he was sorry they had faced doubt from some law enforcement officers or others in the criminal justice system.
“My apologies that you weren’t believed,” the judge said.
Walley had no criminal history before his arrest.
In each criminal case, victims are described as vulnerable because they had a medical condition that required emergency care when Walley attacked them. McIlrath said Walley raped a pregnant patient in an ambulance in 2018 as she was being taken to a hospital, and the woman had a miscarriage hours later.
More details were revealed in civil lawsuits filed on behalf of at least adults who said Walley assaulted them during emergency trips to south Mississippi hospitals. The civil cases have been settled and dismissed.