OLATHE, Kan. – Judge Thomas Sutherland didn't mince words prior to sentencing former Johnson County nurse Dennis Clark to 12 years in prison for multiple counts of aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and lewd/lascivious behavior.
“Mr. Clark, I just -- times like this, I'm perhaps expected to make eloquent comments of condemnation and/or rebuke, but frankly I'm not sure those words exist to match the crime and your conduct in this case,” Sutherland said.
The 50-year-old former nurse showed no emotion as charges were read to him. Court documents say the charges stem from multiple female patients accusing Clark of assaulting them while he was a nurse at Menorah Medical Center.
“Reprehensible just doesn’t seem quite adequate to describe that you took advantage of victims at a time when they trusted you, their family trusted you, at a time when they were most vulnerable and in a location where they probably did and should have felt safe and you violated that trust,” Sutherland said.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Covington said Clark’s crimes extended well beyond the hospital and Johnson County.
“I think the number of victims, the fact that he not only had victims at the hospital who had these allegations against him -- he had victims at the new hospital in Wyandotte County, which he is still facing charges for -- but then the neighborhood women that complained about him masturbating in their presence," Covington said. “It speaks volumes to me that not only is (he) doing this sort of stuff at work, but he's also doing it in his home environment.”
It’s a traumatic experience Erica Zamora, one of Clark’s victims, is still healing from but one she said was helped with Friday’s sentencing.
“Closure, a sense of closure. We're not yet there because I'm still waiting on Wyandotte County, but this little piece of closure that I've gotten today has lifted the world off of my shoulders,” she said.
Clark will soon appear in a Wyandotte County courtroom on similar sexual assault charges.