DNA evidence led to the Jan. 3 arrest of a medical center nurse from Pace for allegedly molesting a disabled elder in his care.
James Ronald Bemis, 71, is charged with felony lewd and lascivious molestation of an elderly, disabled adult and felony indecent exposure in the presence of an elderly, disabled adult.
According to a Pensacola Police Department arrest report, the victim had been in a wheelchair and lived in nursing facilities for five years. The victim was brought back to Baptist Behavioral Medicine in Pensacola after experiencing chest pains.
The victim said he was familiar with Bemis because he had seen him previously at the medical center. According to the victim’s statement, Bemis entered the victim’s room March 9, 2019 and exposed his genitals. He then allegedly pleasured himself and made sexually explicit comments to the victim. Bemis also allegedly rubbed his genitals on the victim’s bare chest and touched the victim’s genitals.
The victim told Bemis “no” and to stop during the incident according to the statement. Eventually, Bemis washed his hands and left the room according to the report.
Video surveillance in the hallway recovered by investigators showed Bemis entering the room and then leaving after 27 minutes, drying his hands with a paper towel. The investigators also took all bed linens from the room and submitted them for DNA testing.
During an interview with police, Bemis denied the allegations. He said he has worked at the medical center for 46 years and has never had any complaints. He also said the victim was given morphine at the time and was hallucinating.
Deputies asked if there was any reason Bemis’s sperm would be on the victim’s clothes and bedding. Bemis said no and agreed to provide a DNA sample.
Test results from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received Dec. 24 confirmed that semen matching Bemis’s DNA profile were found on the victim’s blanket.
Bemis has been released from Escambia County Jail on $25,000 bond.