Judge ends ankle monitoring of Weems paramedic
A 46-year-old former Weems paramedic, accused of molesting two elderly female patients during transport, has been relieved of having to wear an ankle bracelet while out on bond awaiting trial.
At a June 8 online hearing. Circuit Judge Charles Dodson granted a motion by public defender Courtenay Miller to have the electronic monitoring device removed from Robert E. Lee Major, who had been accused in April 2019 of four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of an elderly or disabled person, all second-degree felonies.
With the death earlier this year of one of the two women, three of the four charges were dropped in February 2020, leaving Major facing a single charge.
Miller argued that because his client is employed by A-1 Quality Docks & Boat Lifts out of Eastpoint, his ankles are required to be under water at times, and the ankle bracelet hindered his ability to do that.
“He’s been on the monitor since September with no violations,” Miller told the judge during the online hearing.
Major, who had been stripped of his paramedic license in Michigan for an alleged sexual misconduct incident while on the job, later moved south to Georgia and was subsequently hired by Weems.
Following his arrest, then Weems Memorial Hospital CEO H.D. Cannington issued a statement in which he said a criminal background check through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted prior to Major’s Sept. 3, 2018 hiring, “did not indicate a criminal record, and we had no indication of such behavior in his past or he would never have been hired.
“We did not know he had ever worked in Michigan, or he was ever licensed in Michigan,” Cannington said. “He did not disclose that.”
The CEO said the hospital relied on references from DeKalb County EMS, in Fort Payne, in northern Alabama, where Major was working just prior to starting at Weems.
At the Zoom hearing regarding the ankle monitor, Dodson heard from the alleged victim in Major’s case, who objected to the removal of it. Assistant State Attorney Jared Patterson said that “while there have been no violations (of ankle monitoring rules), there have been some incidents that have occurred. (She) is still upset and fearful.”
The woman said that she had encountered Major at a grocery store in Carrabelle. “We’ve run into each other,” she said. “It’s just another excuse for him to run like he done before. I object to this; I’m a wreck over this.
“We’re bound to run into each other. I don’t leave my home at all because of this,” she said. “I’ve been through the worst of the worst in my life (but) I’ve never dealt with this before.”
Major’s attorney sought to downplay the alleged victim’s objections, arguing that his client was merely at the checkout line and did not initiate the confrontation.
She said that she noticed his mustache and beard were gone, and so she inquired as to who he was.
“He gave me that smile that I hate,” she said. “I lost it, I literally lost it. I’m a wreck. A brave solder is supposed to swallow that (but) I never expected to run into him.
“I am 65 years old and I have been to hell and back,” she said. “I wake up shaking. If I go to the dollar store I’m shaking. I don’t want to live like this. I never know what day I’m going to turn the corner and there he is.”
Patterson told the judge Major “did not appear to antagonize the victim,” and that he would remain on supervision, but without the ankle monitor requirement.
In granting the monitor’s removal, Dodson stressed that the no-contact order remains in effect. “Make sure your client goes above and beyond this no-contact,” he said.