PASCAGOULA, Mississippi — He begged for forgiveness, but in the end there would be none.
James Walley, a 57-year-old former paramedic, was sentenced Monday to 40 years in a Mississippi state prison, without possibility of parole, for the sexual assault of six patients in the back of ambulances, as well as the sexual molestation of two children, ages 6 and 7 at the time of the crimes.
“The defendant committed the most vile of sexual assaults upon people who were at their most helpless and vulnerable moments in life,” said district attorney Angel Myers-McIlrath. “He is a sexual predator who will never be in a position to hurt another person.”
The crimes occurred between 2016 and 2019 while working as a paramedic for ASAP Ambulance, which serves patients in Mississippi and Alabama. Walley has been in custody in the Jackson County Adult Detention Center since 2019.
Each time the assaults took place, Walley was in the back of an ambulance with the patient/victim, and drivers did nothing to intervene, later denying they had any knowledge of the attacks, according to court records.
In each criminal case, victims were described as vulnerable because they had a medical condition that required emergency care when Walley attacked them.
McIlrath said Walley raped a pregnant woman in an ambulance in 2018 as she was being taken to a hospital. The woman tried to fight off the 6-3, 215-pound Walley, and would suffer a miscarriage hours later. Another of his victims had attempted suicide and was being transported to a hospital when Walley attacked her.
All of the crimes occurred in either Jackson or Greene counties. The child molestations took place in Greene County, where Walley was residing at the time.
When they originally came forward, some of the victims met with doubt and disbelief from some in law enforcement — a fact for which Circuit Court Judge Robert Krebs apologized Monday.
“My apologies that you weren’t believed,” Krebs said to the victims in court.
“Despite disbelief and naysayers, these victims stood up for themselves and told the truth about what happened to them,” McIlrath said. “They are believed and today they got justice.”
McIlrath and assistant district attorney James Lovorn, who prosecuted the case, credited the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the work of Singing River Hospital, for their efforts to “assure justice” for the victims.
Prior to Krebs handing down the sentence, Walley apologized to the victims.
“I’m asking you, begging you, to forgive me,” he said, as the victims and some of their relatives cried.
Krebs was unmoved, sending Walley to prison until 2062, when he would be 97 years old. In addition, the judge ordered Walley to pay $4,000 to the Human Trafficking Fund; $2,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund; and $400 to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, as well as all court costs.
Multiple civil lawsuits were also filed against Walley by victims. Those cases have been settled and dismissed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.