Skip to main content

Paramedic accused of sexually assaulting minor teen during ambulance transport

Akingbiwaju Joseph Opadele (CMPD)

Akingbiwaju Joseph Opadele (CMPD)

A 31-year-old paramedic in North Carolina was arrested last week for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor teen in the back of an ambulance earlier this year. Akingbiwaju Joseph Opadele was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with one count of felony sexual contact under the pretext of medical treatment, authorities announced.

According to a press release from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the victim was a 17-year-old who on Jan. 17 experienced an unspecified “medical episode.” She was transported by Fort Mill Emergency Medical Services from Fort Mill to Atrium Health Main, located in the 1000 block of Blythe Boulevard.

Upon arriving at Atrium Main, the victim reported to the hospital staff that Opadele had sexually assaulted her while they were in the back of the ambulance on their way to the hospital. Opadele, a paramedic with Fort Mill Emergency Medical Services (EMS), was the only person riding in the back of the vehicle with the victim at the time, police said.

The medical staff at the hospital treated the victim for her medical episode and also administered an additional exam and a sexual assault kit.

Following an analysis of the sexual assault kit, examination of physical evidence, and interviews with the victim and witnesses, detectives determined there was probable cause to arrest and charge Opadele.

Investigators obtained a warrant for Opadele’s arrest and on March 7, officers with CMPD’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team, with the assistance of the Kannapolis Police Department, took Opadele into custody at his home. Following several attempts to interview Opadele by detectives, he was transported and booked at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center.

He was released that same day on a $15,000 unsecured bond.

In a subsequent press conference, officials specified that the victim accused Opadele of putting his hands down her pants while on the way to the hospital.

“The type of medical episode she was suffering did not necessitate any touching,” CMPD Maj. Melanie Peacock said. “This case is particularly disturbing given it involves a person in a position of medical authority preying upon a patient suffering a medical episode. I can’t think of anything that’s more of a deplorable violation of trust.”

CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings used the opportunity to assail the county’s bond system, claiming that Opadele spent less than 40 minutes in jail before the law “allowed him to sign himself out.”

“I think it’s important that we have to stop sometimes and ask ourselves, you know, what kind of message are we sending to our victims? Our most vulnerable people within our society?” Jennings said. “That someone can basically create such a crime or do such a crime as this one, and walk right out the door, probably before our officers and our detectives and all of our people that worked on this case, probably before they even got back to their desk.”

Opadele has been placed on administrative leave until his case plays out in court. Meanwhile, Fort Mill EMS is conducting its own internal investigation.

Watch the press conference below.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.