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Nurse threatened to kill patient after sexually abusing her, charges state

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10 2013 11:05 a.m. MST

ROOSEVELT — Police have arrested a registered nurse after a former patient said he sexually abused her five times during an overnight stay at Uintah Basin Medical Center and threatened to "put her into cardiac arrest."

Joshua Platte Shumway was arrested Sunday, Roosevelt Police Lt. Pete Butcher said. He has since surrendered his nursing license, according to state regulators.

Shumway, 26, is charged with object rape and forcible sodomy, first-degree felonies; three counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony; three counts of witness tampering, a third-degree felony; and making threats of violence, a class B misdemeanor.

Although he was not assigned to care for the alleged victim during her post-surgical hospital stay in April, Shumway entered her room five times during the night, according to charging documents filed in 8th District Court. The 37-year-old woman told investigators Shumway would use an automatic morphine pump connected to her IV to dose her with more of the medication during his visits.

"(The woman) stated that she was looking for the nurse call button, but was unable to locate it," the charges state.

Hospital records indicate that Shumway was in the room at least once during the night. He is accused of lifting up the woman's hospital gown and fondling her more than once. The woman said he also forced her to touch him inappropriately and made her engage in sex acts.

"(She) stated that she was trying to say, 'No, please,'" charging documents state. The woman told investigators that the words that came out of her mouth instead sounded "squeaky and stupid."

In addition to the alleged sexual abuse, Shumway is also accused of making verbal and physical threats in an effort to ensure the woman's silence.

"(The woman) stated that the male nurse came in the fourth time stating that it was 15 minutes before 'last rounds' and showed her a needle," the charges state. "The nurse told (her) that he could put her into cardiac arrest with the needle."

Detectives allege that Shumway also told the woman he "knew where she lived and could find her if needed," and placed his hand on her throat during his final visit to her room.

"Each time she would whimper or cry, (he) would tighten his grip on her neck," investigators wrote.

The woman did not immediately disclose the alleged abuse to the hospital or to police, but did seek counseling. Her therapist recommended that she report the incident, which she did on Dec. 5, launching the police investigation.

By then, however, Shumway was no longer working at Uintah Basin Medical Center. He left that job in October and went to work at St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Sandy Osmond, interim chief nursing officer for St. Mark's, said Shumway was removed from the hospital's work schedule once as administrators were notified of the police investigation last week. He was fired Tuesday, after the hospital learned he had given up his nursing license, Osmond said.

Shumway surrendered his license following a jailhouse meeting Tuesday morning with an investigator from the state Division of Professional Licensing, division spokeswoman Jennifer Bolton said.

As part of the surrender order he signed, Shumway neither admitted nor denied the allegations against him, but agreed not to dispute the division's findings that he "touched a patient in an inappropriate sexual manner on more than one occasion while working at a Utah hospital" in April 2013.

At the time he was put on leave from St. Mark's, Shumway had been part of an internship and orientation program at the hospital that can take up to six months to complete, Osmond said.

"As such, he was constantly supervised and never worked independently on our surgical services unit," she said. "Due the nature of the allegations, we double-checked and confirmed that we have not received any patient complaints about this RN."

Shumway passed background checks before being hired by both St. Mark's Hospital and Uintah Basin Medical Center, according to officials from both facilities.

"It is very unsettling to learn of this situation," Uintah Basin Medical Center administrators said in a statement. "We will continue to work with authorities and to do everything we can to ensure patient safety."

Officers are still looking into Shumway's contact with other patients to determine whether there are other potential victims, Butcher said, though that doesn't appear to be the case at present. Anyone with information is asked to call the Roosevelt Police Department at 435-722-2330.

Shumway remains in the Duchesne County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail. His first court appearance is set for Dec. 19.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com

Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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