Charged

A West Plains man employed as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) has been arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of first-degree sexual conduct with a nursing facility resident after allegedly having sexual contact with a resident on two occasions in late August and early September.  

Steven J. Stroman, 43, Cherry Street, was arrested Friday morning by West Plains Police Officers, reports Chief of Police Stephen Monticelli. Bond was set at $10,000 and Stroman was released to the Howell County Sheriff's Department, Monticelli added.

At the time of the incidents, according to police, Stroman was reportedly employed as a weekend charge nurse at West Vue Nursing Home in West Plains.

West Vue officials declined to disclose Stroman’s current employment status to the Quill.

According to court documents, West Plains Police Detective Bryan Brauer began investigating the alleged incidents after law enforcement was made aware Monday. The incidents reportedly happened at the facility on Aug. 30 and Sept. 7 and involved a 68-year-old female resident.

Brauer reported items of clothing belonging to the alleged victim were collected as possible evidence and the woman was examined at Ozarks Medical Center.

Brauer also said that, during an interview with Detective Joe Neuschwander and himself, members of West Vue administration told him Stroman had been employed there for about a year as a weekend night charge nurse, and they were aware of the allegations and had reported them to state authorities as required.

West Vue officials told the detectives there had been no prior complaints about Stroman, Brauer reported.

During an interview with law enforcement the resident reportedly told the detectives the first sexual encounter had been consensual, but Stroman told her it had to be a secret between them. The woman reportedly said the second time it happened, Stroman had not asked for permission before initiating the sexual contact, adding that Stroman had given her a pain pill each time.

A medical technician who had been told about the incidents by the resident was also interviewed by the detectives, Brauer said. The woman stated she had spoken to the nursing home about it and the resident told her that after the second incident she was getting scared, and had also asked if she thought she “could get some money for this.”

When Brauer contacted Stroman, Stroman reportedly told him he was aware of the allegations and had spoken with his employers about it, and agreed to speak with law enforcement.

Stroman allegedly denied any of the allegations were true and said the only contact he may have had with the alleged victim was touching her hand as he gave her medication, adding they were a breathing treatment administered at midnight and pain medications as needed.

A cheek swab sample of DNA was submitted by Stroman with his consent, Brauer said.

Brauer reported that after he told Stroman the resident had kept articles of her clothing that might have DNA evidence on them, Stroman first said the woman had touched him inappropriately, then eventually admitted there had been sexual contact as the woman had described.   

Stroman stated he had given the resident pain medications at her request and it had been charted and signed correctly, according to court documents.

Brauer stated in his investigation that he informed West Vue and the Missouri Board of Nursing of the findings, adding he believed Stroman was a danger to the community because there was no way of monitoring whether “he attempts to practice as a nurse at other healthcare facilities.”     

This story was updated at 10:55 a.m. Friday with arrest information.

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