The mother of a teenage girl says a local emergency medical technician (EMT) sexually assaulted her daughter while she was riding alone in the back of an ambulance last year.
“Mortified, I was mortified. You know, you're supposed to have your daughter feel safe when she's in an ambulance,” the mother told NBC 7 Investigates. “You don't ever think that would happen.”
To protect the identity of the victim, NBC 7 Investigates is not identifying the victim’s mother.
David A. Carpio, a former EMT for the Balboa Ambulance Service, is now facing criminal charges for the alleged crime.
According to the victim’s mother, the assault occurred in February 2017 while her daughter was being transported to a local hospital. During that ride, the mother said Carpio was alone with her daughter in the back of the ambulance.
“She let us know that he had touched her inappropriately. He kissed her on her neck. He wrote on her breast and used his own saliva to wipe off what was written,” the mother told NBC 7 Investigates. “He commented on her underwear. He lifted her underwear and touched them.”
Those allegations are echoed in a civil lawsuit filed against Carpio and his employer, Balboa Ambulance Service.
According to the lawsuit, the girl’s family and their attorney believe there may be other victims.
“We believe there can be many other victims based on the one thing he said to her which was, ‘most of my victims are either medicated or asleep,” the mother told NBC 7 Investigates. “This is what he did to a patient that was awake, I can only imagine what has happened to any other victims that may be out there.”
The girl’s mother said Carpio told the driver of the ambulance to slow down in order to make the ride longer.
After arriving at the hospital, the girl’s mother said the teen told staff about the alleged assault inside the ambulance and staff then contacted law enforcement to investigate.
In October 2017, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office charged Carpio with one count of sexual assault and battery, three counts of lewd acts on a minor, and a single count of molestation, according to the criminal complaint.
A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office said Carpio’s criminal trial is set for October 9.
According to the civil lawsuit, filed on July 31, Carpio had been accused of sexual misconduct prior to the incident.
“Carpio was a known sexual offender who made it a regular practice to sexually assault and harass vulnerable female patients,” the lawsuit states.
Jessica Pride, the attorney for the family, told NBC 7 Investigates that Balboa Ambulance Service failed to conduct adequate background checks and ensure proper policies were in place to prevent the assault.
“There should have been policies and procedures in place to protect my client,” Pride told NBC 7 Investigates. “If a breast examination was needed then a female EMT should have been present. There needed to be someone in the room to make sure that there was no sexual misconduct.”
In an email, Nicole Wesser, a spokesperson for Balboa Ambulance Service, told NBC 7 Investigates, “David Carpio was employed by Balboa Ambulance Service as an Emergency Medical Technician for a very short period of time and has not worked with the company since early 2017...Balboa Ambulance Service has cooperated fully with any requests from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and will continue to do so.”
Wesser added that Carpio had passed a criminal background check and was a certified EMT.
Alexander Fuqua, Carpio’s Criminal Defense Attorney, told NBC 7 Investigates, “The accusations being made against my client are patently false. They've been fabricated by the alleged victim...Her credibility is poor and my client is 100% innocent of these charges."