KANSAS CITY, Kan. — There is a new wrinkle in the case against Dennis Clark, a former nurse who is accused of raping and sexually assaulting patients in his care while working in the recovery room at Providence Medical Center.
The issue raises questions about how the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office is handling cases.
In early September, Clark’s attorney, James Spies, filed a motion to dismiss his case because the DA’s office had not turned over evidence so he could prepare for trial. That motion struck fear in the hearts of Clark’s alleged victims that they may not get justice.
“I think it would be a disaster for everybody” alleged victim, Alicia King, said. “I thought you guys were doing really good, but I was wondering what was taking so long.”
Spies has been Clark’s attorney since April. His motion shows that, despite numerous efforts to get the evidence against his client, Deputy District Attorney Crystalyn Oswald did not turn it over until the case was in danger of being dismissed.
“I think that, had I not filed the motion to dismiss, who knows what would have happened, but I would not have had it before trial,” Spies said.
The judge ultimately decided not to dismiss the charges, saying it would punish the public more than the prosecutor. However, he did have harsh words for the D.A.’s office and Oswald, saying she neglected to do her job. For that neglect, the judge slapped sanctions on the D.A.’s office.
Although previously accepted in the Wyandotte County case, Oswald is now not allowed to use Clark’s conviction in Johnson County for sexually assaulting patients at Menorah Medical Center as evidence in this case.
The judge also imposed a monetary fine against the D.A.’s office.
“It’s rare. I will say I haven’t had it occur in any of my cases, so yeah, its a big deal,” Spies said of the sanctions. “I know for a fact that this is not the only case where they have not turned over discovery. That came up recently in another case that made news, and it appears that is becoming an ongoing problem.”
Spies is referring to the sexual assault case against former Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Mastel. Crystalyn Oswald is also the lead prosecutor on that case. A woman who only wanted to be identified as a family member of Mastel said the same thing is happening in that case.
Court records show that months after Mastel was charged, Oswald still had not turned over evidence to Mastel’s attorney. She finally turned over some evidence after he was ordered by the court to do. Otherwise, the case would be dismissed.
“It is wrong. I am sorry, but the D.A.’s office is nothing but liars.” Mastel’s family member said. “I think the D.A.’s office has no idea what they are doing. I think the prosecutors they have working for them have no idea.”
FOX4 News reached out to District Attorney Mark Dupree requesting an interview to get his side of the story, but neither D.A. Dupree nor anyone in his office has replied.
In the Clark case, the judge also ordered all evidence be given to Spies by noon Friday, Sept. 4. Anything not turned over by then will not be allowed to be admitted for use in the trial.