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Maryland nurse convicted of sex abuse in Ohio

A Maryland nurse now serving jail time in Ohio for having unwanted sexual contact with a woman in labor has surrendered his state nursing license.

James Julian Lewis, 29, voluntarily surrendered his Maryland nursing license Feb. 18, though he pleaded guilty in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to abusing a patient in December, according to court records.

It's unclear where in Maryland Lewis was employed, if anywhere, or if he was working after he pleaded guilty. Local nursing regulators say there have been no complaints against him in Maryland.

Lewis told the consumer advocacy group National Consumer Law Center last year that he worked at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for a profile in the March 2014 report "No Lost Causes: Practical Ideas to Help Low-Income Students Succeed in College." (The center edited the online report to remove Lewis this week after it found out he'd been sentenced, said Deanne Loonin, its staff attorney.)

A spokeswoman for Shock Trauma would not confirm whether Lewis worked there, saying only: "As with any personnel matter, we are limited in what information we can provide, confirm or deny."

Lewis obtained a bachelor's degree in nursing in 2007 from the University of Maryland School of Nursing and told the consumer law center he received a master's degree in health science in December 2012. It is unclear where he received the master's degree.

Lewis was accused in 2012 of touching the right breast of a woman at Fairview Hospital in Cleveland during her delivery and compelling her to touch his pants over his penis, according to the indictment from Cuyahoga County prosecutors.

Court records show he initially pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of patient abuse and a misdemeanor charge of sexual imposition, but changed his plea to guilty on both counts in December. He was sentenced March 11 to 60 days in jail and two years of probation, court records show. He also has to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

Repeated calls to Lewis' attorney in Ohio went unreturned.

Court records listed Lewis' address in Hyattsville. A man who answered the phone there said it was a wrong number. And a woman answering the phone at a family member's home in Baltimore declined to comment.

His actions drew a rebuke from Cuyahoga County Judge Maureen Clancy during his sentencing.

"It's just shocking to me," said Clancy, according to a news release from the Cuyahoga County prosecutors' office.

As part of his sentencing, Lewis agreed not to work in health care again and to surrender his license in three states — Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Lewis voluntarily surrendered his license in Maryland in a February letter to the Maryland Board of Nursing, which accepted it Feb. 25 but did not post the information on its public website until March 24. Lewis has been a registered nurse since July 2007 and a certified registered nurse anesthetist since January 2013 in Maryland.

Patricia A. Noble, the board's executive director, said the delayed posting was an oversight.

She said the board has no way of knowing if Lewis was working in Maryland after he pleaded guilty to the abuse. She said the board only learned of the conviction from his resignation letter. There have been no complaints against him in Maryland, she said.

He does not appear to have a criminal record in the state.

During sentencing, the Ohio victim said that Lewis changed what was supposed to be the best day of her life, according to an account on Cleveland.com, the web site of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Family and friends of Lewis' testified that Lewis grew up in West Baltimore and built a career and supported a family, including a mother and two young boys, according to the Cleveland.com report. His wife serves overseas in the armed forces, the report said.

The National Center for Consumer Law said it learned of Lewis from the nonprofit Central Scholarship, which awards scholarships and loans to students in Maryland who are financially needy or studying in fields with workforce shortages. He received funding for undergraduate and graduate studies from the group. The law center declined to comment further.

Lewis joined the Central Scholarship's board of directors in September 2013.

"He served us well in that capacity," said Jan Moylan Wagner, the nonprofit's president. "Beyond that, we have no comment."

Baltimore Sun reporter Jessica Anderson contributed to this article.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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