Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department detectives have arrested and charged 31-year-old paramedic Akingbiwaju Joseph Opadele with felony sexual contact under the pretense of medical treatment. He was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in an ambulance while she was having a medical episode. However, the police chief is unhappy with the bail system because Opadele was released from jail less than an hour after his arrest. The chief expressed his frustration and called for an end to low-cash bail.
Opadele was released on a $15,000 unsecured bond after spending just 37 minutes in jail, which concerns CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings regarding the safety of the community and the message it sends to victims of such crimes. He calls for the criminal justice system to prioritize the safety of vulnerable people in society.
The victim was transported by Fort Mill Emergency Medical Services from Fort Mill to Atrium Health Maine in Charlotte after she experienced a medical episode. Opadele was the only EMT in the ambulance with the victim. While in the vehicle, Opadele allegedly sexually assaulted her. The victim reported the incident to hospital staff when she arrived. The detectives said that the examination and the victim’s testimony produced evidence that there was probable cause to charge Opadele.
Jennings is optimistic that state lawmakers will address the issue of cheap cash bail and assist police enforcement shortly. He supports the Pretrial Integrity Act, which would allow judges to make calls regarding pre-trial instead of magistrates. This would add another layer of accountability to the system.
A news article by Chris Pandolfo of Fox News published on March 11, 2023, contributed to this report.