For­mer nurse pleads not guilty to sex­ual as­sault­ing pa­tients

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - TRACY M. NEAL Tracy M. Neal can be reached by email at tneal@nwaon­ or Twit­ter @NWATracy.

BEN­TONVILLE — A for­mer nurse pleaded not guilty Mon­day to charges he sex­u­ally as­saulted four pa­tients.

Mitchell Dee Atkins, 51, of Spring­dale is charged with four counts of sex­ual as­sault. He en­tered his plea at an ar­raign­ment be­fore Benton County Cir­cuit Judge Robin Green. Atkins is ac­cused of en­gag­ing in sex­ual con­tact with the women through force, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Atkins is free on $25,000 bond.

Atkins was ar­rested April 21 at the De­catur Medi-Clinic where he worked as a nurse prac­ti­tioner. Two clinic pa­tients al­lege Atkins touched them in­ap­pro­pri­ately when giv­ing them shots, one on Feb. 24 and the other on April 17, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit of prob­a­ble cause.

Sue Ted­ford, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Arkansas State Board of Nurs­ing, said Atkins has sur­ren­dered his nurs­ing li­cense.

The women claimed Atkins touched them in­ap­pro­pri­ately when he gave them the shots with no other med­i­cal per­son­nel present.

Atkins told po­lice he gave the two pa­tients shots in the but­tocks, but de­nied he touched ei­ther pa­tient sex­u­ally, ac­cord­ing to the prob­a­ble cause af­fi­davit. Atkins told po­lice he wasn’t “a sex­ual preda­tor,” ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Two other women came for­ward af­ter Atkins’ ar­rest.

A om­nibus hear­ing is sched­uled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 21.

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