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Hospital Molester Gets 10-Year Sentence : Simi Valley: Nurse’s aide was convicted of abusing three patients-- two elderly and one mentally disabled.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A male nurse’s aide who molested three female patients at Simi Valley Hospital was given the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison Friday, despite a plea for forgiveness and clemency that he said came from “the innermost depths of my heart.”

Superior Court Judge Charles W. Campbell Jr., saying he was unmoved by Victor E. Sumner’s courtroom statement, called the defendant an arrogant man who “couldn’t have cared less what effects his actions had . . . on the victims and witnesses in this case.”

Sumner acted as his own attorney during the trial and consequently was allowed to cross-examine the victims directly, a move that reportedly terrified the women and outraged the prosecutor. For the sentencing hearing, he hired a private attorney.

Sumner, 47, showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down. Immediately afterward, however, he dismissed his attorney, informed Campbell he would be his own lawyer while appealing the conviction and asked for extra telephone privileges while incarcerated.

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Campbell denied the telephone request.

Sumner was convicted in November of molesting three patients--two elderly women and a mentally disabled 32-year-old--on his first day as a nurse’s aide at the hospital in July. The victims were so frail that the trial was moved from Ventura to Simi Valley for a few days so they could testify without endangering their health.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrice D. Koenig, recalling Sumner’s cross-examination of the victims, said that was one reason the maximum sentence was warranted.

“The defendant has basically put these victims through hell,” Koenig told Campbell. “They have been re-victimized repeatedly throughout this court process by this defendant.”

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Sumner, reading a prepared statement prior to the sentencing, said that as a child of a woman, he was raised to respect female rights and that he knows women are taught to forgive others.

“Therefore it is with extreme remorse, welling up from the innermost depths of my heart, that I call upon (the victims) to forgive me, another woman’s kid, much as they would forgive their own kid,” he said.

Sumner asked Campbell for leniency and requested therapy as part of his sentence.

“I am certain that (the victims) all join me in a silent prayer to you for clemency, now that they have heard the utterances coming from the depths of my heart,” Sumner said.

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Two of the victims, accompanied by their families, were in court for the sentencing. Feminist attorney Gloria Allred, who represents the women, read a statement she said was dictated by the mentally disabled victim.

“The man tried to trick me by telling me he was a nurse and pretending to be my friend, but then he did a bad thing to me and hurt me a lot,” Allred read. “Now I am real glad that I told on that mean man. . . . I want the man who did bad things to me to go to jail for a long time and be where he can’t hurt me.”

The other victim in court, a 73-year-old woman confined to a wheelchair, made a statement at a hearing last month saying she was very independent before the incident but now is frightened by strangers and will not open her door.

Campbell called the crimes shocking and said he believes Sumner picked victims he thought would not report him to police.

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“To think that someone who’s entrusted with the care of people who cannot care for themselves, and that’s why they were in the hospital, that he would take advantage of them in this way leads me to believe that he’s a very sick individual,” the judge said.

Campbell said Sumner projects “a veneer of being a very well-educated gentleman,” but that is not his true self.

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After the hearing, Allred said the victims are happy with the sentence and were particularly pleased that the judge was not swayed by Sumner’s plea for leniency.

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“I think he should serve his time, get treatment and then ask for forgiveness after he’s taken responsibility for the harm he inflicted on the victims,” Allred said. She would not discuss any civil action the women might take as a result of the molestations.

The brother of the mentally disabled victim said he will always feel contempt for Sumner.

“I hate that man,” he said outside the courtroom. “What he did to my sister was terrible, and I will never forgive him.”


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