Former Arkansas State Hospital worker to file as sex offender; no contest pleaded in patient assault

Posted: March 29, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

A former State Hospital worker authorities say was caught having sex with a brain-damaged patient will have to register as a sex offender after pleading no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor sex charge, reduced from felony sexual assault.

James Leon Davis, 44, had been charged with third-degree sexual assault, which criminalizes sexual contact between people in state custody and their guards, caretakers, probation/parole supervisors and others in custodian-type roles. The charge is a Class C felony that carries up to 10 years in prison.

Under the terms of the plea agreement negotiated by defense attorney Lott Rolfe, Davis will spend a year on probation and pay a $500 fine for misdemeanor public sexual indecency, which makes it a crime to have sex in public places or in public view.

The plea came after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims earlier this month cleared the way for a former State Hospital patient, a 35-year-old North Little Rock woman with schizophrenia, to testify about how Davis coerced her into repeated sexual acts with him. Davis was never charged over her accusations.

In the case in which Davis pleaded no contest, prosecutors say a nurse found the man having sex with a 28-year-old woman in March 2016. Davis surrendered to State Hospital police three weeks later.

Depending on her condition, the woman has alternated between residing at the hospital or living in a supervised residence program over the past four years.

Court records show the woman was 11 years old in September 2001 when she was hit by a car. Her injuries put her in a coma and led to a stroke that left her with brain damage, which has affected her intellectual functioning and caused partial paralysis. She suffers from depression, seizures and impulse control problems, which are being treated with regular medication.

She was hospitalized at least 13 times in the years after the accident for problems with severe mood swings, aggressive behavior and suicidal thoughts.

When she was 23 in July 2013, she was placed in the custody of the state Department of Human Services at court order after beating and biting a nurse, Cynthia Lambertus, in the emergency room at the North Metro Medical Center in Jacksonville.

The woman was at the Jacksonville hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after threatening to kill herself. She grew combative with the staff, yelling and cursing, and was restrained. Police said Lambertus was trying to calm her when the woman attacked, pulling the nurse by her hair onto the bed, punching her and biting Lambertus on the right upper arm, court filings show.

Metro on 03/29/2018