The Norman Transcript

December 7, 2012

Veterans center aide recants guilty plea

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — An ongoing trial is being conducted at the Cleveland County Courthouse after a Norman Veterans Center aide recanted his guilty plea and sought a jury.

Jeremy Craig Lyday, 28, of Noble, was charged with first-degree rape and two counts of forcible oral sodomy in 2011. He pled guilty during a hearing this October but withdrew his guilty plea in favor of a jury trial on Nov. 15.

During Thursday’s proceedings, Detective Mark Drummond with the Cleveland County’s Sheriff’s Office took the witness stand. Drummond was one the detectives who interviewed Lyday after an incident occurred June 23, 2011.

During Wednesday’s proceedings, several of Lyday’s coworkers also testified.

According to the affidavit, Lyday’s coworker, Joe Lewis, discovered Lyday on June 23, 2011, in a patient’s room, naked from the waist down, hiding behind a patient’s curtain. Lewis then summoned administrative nursing staff to deal with the occurrence.

The charge nurse and nursing administrators contacted the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office to report what was believed to be a sexual assault. Following the notification, the patient was taken to the hospital and examined for sexual assault, the affidavit stated.

In an interview with sheriff’s office detectives, Lyday admitted to committing both of the sexual acts with the patient, who has an advanced case of dementia.

During the trial Wednesday, a female coworker said a few months before the June 23 incident, she walked in on Lyday with a different patient with the patient’s pants pulled down.

Lyday had told her he thought he saw something on the patient’s genitals while he was changing the patient. She said she had not seen anything when changing the same patient earlier in that day. She also said nursing staff typically changed this particular patient in teams of two because of how tall or large he was.

The coworker later reported the incident to administration after the June incident. She said she didn’t report the incident sooner because she wasn’t sure about what she saw.

“I didn’t know if what I saw is what I saw. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions,” she said.

After the June incident, the coworker said she had a conversation with Lyday and when she asked him if he did anything, he said “no.” He also said “he didn’t want to lose his license over this.” She did not ask him any questions after that.

District Judge Tracy Schumacher heard the case at the Cleveland County Courthouse. The trial will resume at 9:15 a.m. today in Schumacher’s court room.

Jessica Bruha366-3540jbruha@normantranscript.com

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.