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Trial begins for former hospital employee accused of molesting child patients

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:17 PM
Last updated Tuesday, June 17, 2014 1:30 AM
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The trial began Monday for a former hospital employee accused of molesting child patients.

Bernard Edwards, 56, has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to the charges – two counts of aggravated sexual battery, two counts of sexual assault, and one count each of child molestation and simple battery.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Homlar told the jury in his opening statement that witnesses will testify about what happened when Edwards isolated patients at Georgia Regents Medical Center.

The teens were patients in the children’s behavior health unit where Edwards worked as a mental health technician.

A 17-year-old boy told his mother in January 2012 that Edwards had been touching his face and his hair and hugging him. The mother reported the incident to the hospital. Edwards was counseled but no report was made to law enforcement.

In November 2012, when the mother of a 12-year-old girl told hospital staff an employee had sexually assaulted the child, the GRU police department was contacted. Lt. Derik Still was assigned to investigate.

Edwards became a suspect after hospital staff reported Edwards worked shifts when the boy was accosted by a hospital employee he knew as “Bernard,” and he was working the shift when the girl was assaulted, Still said.

On cross-examination by defense attorney Jeffery Johnston, Still said he was never provided a copy of the employees scheduled shifts on the unit.

In his opening statement, Johnston said the jury would learn no video surveillance was examined from cameras in patient rooms and outside the rooms. Other employees who had or could have had access to the hospital unit were not questioned, he said.

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corgimom 06/16/14 - 08:39 pm
The other employees didn't

The other employees didn't need to be questioned because there was only one "Bernard" that the children came in contact with.

I sure hope he doesn't get acquitted.

I just wonder how many other children he's molested.

Fiat_Lux 06/17/14 - 07:22 am
I'm keeping an open mind about his one,

depending on how long he worked at MCG and whether or not he had received other accusations along these lines. There's a world of difference between touching and hugging a troubled child and molesting them. I know a man who was arrested and charged with molestation, and lost his job, because he patted a middle school girl on the back as an act of encouragement and comfort when she was upset.

With little kids who report being molested, it generally a slam-dunk, but when it comes to middle-school kids on up, great care needs to be exercised to discover the truth--especially when it originates with kids who are mentally/emotionally disturbed.

I thought pedophiles only went for boys or girls but not both.

JRC2024 06/17/14 - 08:18 am
FL, my wife tells me all the

FL, my wife tells me all the time to not be friendly with children. I guess she is right. We do not know if the boy was crying and he wanted attention. Mentally ill children do and say strange things. It doesn't sound like sexual assault to me. Time will tel.

jimmymac 06/17/14 - 01:05 pm

It's a shame but I was at a playground with my two oldest grandsons when I saw a child fall off a climbing wall. My immediate reaction was to go assist the child but I was hesitant because far too often no good deed goes unpunished. If this man is truly guilty of committing molestation he should get the book thrown at him. However I would resist a rush to judgment.

rmwhitley 06/17/14 - 07:39 pm
If Edwards

is guilty, castration is his due process.

whyme 06/17/14 - 11:10 pm
who knows?

Best to let the courts make the judgement call here rather than speculate; innocent until proven guilty is not the norm these days but it is the right thing to do. If he is innocent, here is hoping he can go forward despite this hanging over him. If guilty, may justice be served appropriately.

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