Former Hattiesburg clinical assistance sentenced for sex abuse of patient

Former Hattiesburg clinical assistance sentenced for sex abuse of patient

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Forrest County judge sentenced a former Hattiesburg clinical assistance for sexually abusing a patient, Attorney General Jim Hood announced on Tuesday.

James Haydel, 24, was sentenced to two years behind bars after entering an open plea to one count of felony abuse of a vulnerable person on Nov. 8. Haydel was sentenced Monday to 12 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with two years to serve and 10 years suspended. He must also serve five years on probation and pay a $2,500 fine, $200 in restitution to the Mississippi Crime Victim Compensation fund, $200 in restitution to the Forrest County Public Defenders Fund and all court costs. The charges do not require him to register as a sex offender.

The attorney general's Medicaid Fraud Unit arrested Haydel on Oct. 11 for engaging in sexual penetration with a patient in a Hattiesburg healthcare facility where he was employed as a clinical assistant, according to a press release from the AG's office.

"Good caregivers are a lifeline for our vulnerable population, whether elderly, adolescent, or disabled," Hood said. "This case should not deflect from the many caregivers across our state who are doing right by their patients. It should serve as a reminder that the calling is one with standards of decency and self-control. We are working hard every day to protect all our residents, especially our most vulnerable."

This case was investigated by Trey Rogers and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Tina Herron.