A former nurse convicted of sexually abusing one of his patients at a Caroline County facility was ordered Wednesday to serve eight years in prison.
Gene Paul Brown, 58, of Fredericksburg, was sentenced to 15 years, with seven years suspended, following a lengthy sentencing hearing in Caroline Circuit Court. He was convicted in October of sodomy.
According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Kelly Grace Green, the victim is a 72-year-old bedridden woman who has been at the Bowling Green Health & Rehabilitation Center since late 2014. The woman testified that she had known Brown as a friend and a caretaker for several years and used to consider him a friend.
The relationship changed drastically in September 2018, the woman said, when Brown began having sexual intercourse and performing other sex acts on her on a regular basis. She accused Brown of causing her pain and ruining her life.
The woman said the abuse continued until March of last year, when she finally mustered up the courage to report Brown.
Brown denied any wrongdoing from the start and he did so again Wednesday just before Judge Sarah Deneke, who found Brown guilty in the bench trial last fall, announced the sentence.
“I didn’t commit this crime,” Brown said. “It’s not in me to do it. If this happened to this woman, it wasn’t me who did it. I don’t know why she picked me.”
After her attempt to get Deneke to throw out the conviction was unsuccessful, defense attorney Erin Ranney put on several witnesses, including Brown’s wife and former co-workers, who vouched for his character.
They told Deneke she’d made a mistake in finding Brown guilty and said they would never believe he did what he was accused of.
“He’s a good man who looks out for everyone,” his wife said. “Let him come home and please don’t make him a sex offender.”
The victim’s son was equally insistent that Brown pay for what he did to his mother.
“You broke the trust my mom had in you,” the 46-year-old man said. “She’s had a very hard life, and now you’ve made it even harder.”
The one thing Green and Ranney agreed on was that Deneke should impose a sentence outside the recommended state guidelines, which called for an active sentence of between four years and five months to 12 years and six months.
Green asked the judge to exceed the top end of the guidelines, saying Brown’s “egregious” actions deserved a harsher punishment.
Ranney asked for a sentence below the bottom number suggested in the guidelines. She said an extended sentence benefits no one.
Brown has already indicated that he will appeal his conviction.