A former nurse at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard was sentenced to six months in jail Friday for sexually molesting two male patients who were being treated in the hospital's emergency room.
Gordon Butikofer, 37, was commended by acting Superior Court Judge Bruce A. Clark for his efforts at rehabilitation since his arrest last year, but the judge said a jail sentence was necessary because "society is going to demand some punishment in this case."
Besides serving the jail term, Butikofer will be on probation for four years.
He pleaded guilty in November to two counts of felony sexual battery of an institutionalized person. According to court records, Butikofer fondled the patients in December, 1993, and May, 1994.
Prosecutors initially alleged that a third patient was molested by Butikofer. That charge was dropped, however, when the patient testified at a preliminary hearing that he could not see who fondled him because blood flowing from a head wound prevented him from opening his eyes.
Deputy Public Defender Brian Boles said Butikofer voluntarily surrendered his nursing license and is working as a produce clerk in a grocery store in Utah. The defendant also is undergoing counseling to address his problem, which stems from being molested as a child, Boles said.
The defense attorney asked Clark not to impose a jail sentence, because doing so will cause Butikofer to lose his job.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Bob Calvert argued for an eight-month jail sentence, noting that the crime was a serious violation of the trust hospital patients have in their care givers.
Butikofer worked as a registered nurse at St. John's from January, 1993, to May, 1994.