A Newburg man is facing rape, assault and sex offense charges after allegedly trapping a MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital employee in a supply closet and attempting to make her perform a sex act on him.
Ezekiel J. Thomas, 22, was ordered to be held in the detention center on Wednesday afternoon after he was arrested on Monday when the employee and a witness described the incident to police.
According to a statement of probable cause written by Deputy Trevor Teague of the county sheriff’s office, the emergency room employee told police that Thomas, who was a patient at the hospital, entered a supply closet that the employee was in and “held his hand on the door knob to prevent her from leaving.”
He then allegedly pulled down his pants and underwear and exposed his genitals, and allegedly told the employee “to get on her knees” and “began pushing her head down in attempts to have her get on her knees.”
After refusing, the employee told police, she attempted to open the door by grabbing Thomas’ hand and “began digging her fingernails into his hand in hopes of escaping,” according to the police documents.
Soon after, the probable cause document says, another hospital employee, who was designated as a “sitter” for the hallway, opened the closet door and separated the two.
The document alleges that the “sitter” confirmed that Thomas’ pants were down and his genitals were exposed, and added an allegation that Thomas had the employee in a headlock.
The probable cause document says that Cpl. Milton Pesante of the St. Mary’s sheriff’s office, who initially responded to the incident, conducted an interview with Thomas, who confessed to entering the closet and attempting to receive oral sex from the employee, and that he “felt sorry for his actions.”
The document also says that video surveillance corroborates the statements, showing that Thomas left his room at 9:22 p.m. and returned at 9:24 p.m.
Thomas’ bond hearing on Wednesday afternoon encompassed his local case and a separate case in Wicomico County, where he was charged with harassing an official at a school there last Friday.
At Thomas’ hearing, Amber Mackanin, a public defender representing Thomas for bond, said that “there are some glaring systemic issues” in his case.
“His mother transported him to the hospital with serious concerns about his mental health and his well-being,” Mackanin said.
Mackanin said that Thomas’ behavior in the past few days was outside of his character. “He doesn’t have a pattern or a history of this kind of behavior,” she said.
St. Mary’s District Judge Christy Holt Chesser ordered Thomas to be held at the detention center without bond, but also ordered a competency review.
“I have considered whether he can be released on his own recognizance or on a money bond, but I do believe that he could be a public safety risk,” Chesser said in court.
Thomas is charged with second-degree rape, a third-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and false imprisonment in his St. Mary’s county case.
He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 22.
"We take the safety of our associates and patients very seriously," Holly Meyer, a spokesperson for the hospital said in an email. She said that the hospital is fully cooperating with the St. Mary's sheriff's office, but would not comment on the case as it is an ongoing investigation.