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A Duchesne County judge has suppressed every statement a former nurse made during a police interrogation into allegations that he sexually assaulted a female surgery patient.
Joshua Platte Shumway, 28, is charged with sexually abusing a patient at Uintah Basin Medical Center.
But 8th District Judge Edwin Peterson suppressed Shumway's statements citing a botched investigation.
The judge said Roosevelt Police Detective Pete Butcher never asked the victim or the hospital administration to identify Shumway in a photo line-up, misled a judge in obtaining an arrest warrant, and coerced Shumway during the subsequent interrogation.
"[Shumway's] statements were not made of his own free will," Peterson wrote in his decision issued Wednesday.
Butcher appealed to Shumway's Mormon faith, misrepresented how much evidence the police had, and combined with "the threat of harsher punishment if he failed to confess, caused [Shumway] to say what the Detective wanted him to say."
Attorneys had been battling for about a year on whether Shumway's statements could be allowed at his trial, which has not yet been scheduled.
Shumway was charged in December 2013 with three counts of forcible sexual abuse, object rape, forcible sodomy, threat of violence and three counts of tampering with a witness. All but one of the charges are felonies, and if convicted of forcible sodomy, he could face up to life in prison.
The alleged victim told police that on April 16, 2013, she was staying overnight at the hospital after surgery. During the night, a male nurse came into her room and sexually assaulted her on five occasions, according to police.
Investigators determined that Shumway had been working that night and, based on a medication log, administered a drug to the victim.
But the victim described her assailant as a man who wore a name tag with "Green" on it, and he had a tattoo on his arm, according to Peterson's ruling. Butcher failed to mention in his affidavit for Shumway's arrest warrant that those details don't match Shumway's description, Peterson wrote.
The judge even questioned the notion that the suspect was a nurse. The victim testified at an evidence hearing that she believed the perpetrator was a nurse only because he wore scrubs, but that he said he was not her nurse.
"Common experience of anyone having been in a medical facility is that all personnel, including doctors, therapists, nurses, staff members, and often times even cleaning and janitorial personnel, generally wear scrubs," Peterson wrote. "… The identification of the alleged perpetrator as a nurse was reckless speculation on the part of Detective Butcher."
Butcher did not prepare a photo line-up or ask the victim to identify Shumway as the suspect prior to applying for the arrest warrant. But Butcher's probable cause statement could have easily misled a judge into believing the victim had positively identified Shumway, Peterson wrote.
Peterson ruled that the warrant was obtained "by intentionally misleading the magistrate" a different judge who has since recused himself from the case.
Deputy Duchesne County Attorney Grant Charles argued in an earlier motion that Shumway's statements to police were not involuntary and that his free will was not overcome by Butcher's interview tactics.
Prosecutors also defended the warrant, arguing that Butcher's affidavit "does not state anything untruthful standing on its own," according to Peterson's decision.
Neither Shumway's attorney nor the Duchesne County Attorney's Office could be immediately reached for comment Friday morning. The Roosevelt police chief was unavailable for comment.
In December 2014, Shumway voluntarily surrendered his nursing license, according to an order filed by the Utah Department of Professional Licensing.
Shumway agreed that findings of fact made by the department specifically that he "touched a patient in an inappropriate sexual manner on more than one occasion while working at a Utah hospital" constitute unprofessional conduct. Shumway, however, neither admitted nor denied the allegation, according to the order.