By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — A Norman Veteran’s Center aide who earlier recanted a guilty plea and sought a jury trial was found guilty of rape this past week.
Jeremy Craig Lyday, 28, of Noble was found guilty on charges of first-degree rape and two counts of forcible oral sodomy. The jury recommended 12 years in prison for first-degree rape, five years in prison for one count of forcible oral sodomy and nine years for the other count of forcible oral sodomy.
The first-degree rape and one of the forcible oral sodomy charges were for an assault that occurred on June 23, 2011, at the Veteran’s Center. The other forcible oral sodomy charge was for a case that occurred with a different patient in March 2011.
Co-workers and Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office detectives testified in court last week during Lyday’s trial.
According to an 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 issue.
The charge nurse and nursing administrators contacted the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office to report what was believed to be a sexual assault. After the notification, the patient was taken to the hospital and examined for sexual assault, the affidavit stated.
A female coworker who testified last week 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 his body size.
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 presided over the trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse.
Lydat’s sentence will be determined by Schumacher at a later date. A date has not yet been set for sentencing.
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