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Male nurse pleads not guilty to four sexual battery charges

By J. Harry Jones

January 21, 2005

A male nurse who has cared for patients at hospitals in San Diego and North County for a decade pleaded not guilty yesterday to four felony counts of sexual battery on medically incapacitated people.

Julius Ariston Villareal, 32, of Chula Vista is accused of fondling and committing other sex acts on two men in their hospital beds who were drugged and unable to resist.

If convicted of all charges, Villareal could face up to seven years in prison, Deputy Attorney General David Songco said after an arraignment in San Diego Superior Court.

Prosecutors say the first two charged offenses occurred Sept. 29-30, 2003, at Sharp's Coronado Hospital and Healthcare Center. A man hospitalized with severe pneumonia told authorities he was sexually touched while twice being given sponge baths. The hospital fired Villareal after the man complained.

The other two charged offenses are alleged to have occurred the following year, June 8-9 at a Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Diego.

"He managed to gain employment with Kaiser," Songco told Judge David Szumowski.

Songco said a patient there told authorities he was under the effects of anaesthesia after surgery when Villareal twice touched him sexually.

Villareal was fired from that job, as well.

Songco told the judge that Villareal also was fired from a nursing job at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas in 1996 after being accused of similar acts. Criminal charges were not then pursued.

Villareal was arrested Tuesday on a warrant and was in jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. As Songco related the case in court yesterday, Villareal repeatedly shook his head in denial. Court documents show Villareal also emphatically denied the charges late last year when an investigator interviewed him.

Villareal told the investigator he is still employed as a licensed vocational nurse at an aftercare site in Hillcrest for "medically compromised persons."

Szumowski told Villareal that, should he make bail, he is forbidden to work as a nurse unless he reveals to an employer the pending charges.

J. Harry Jones: (619) 542-4590;

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