Surgical center sexual assault charges dropped

By Leo Wolfson

Cody Enterprise

Via Wyoming News Exchange

CODY — A Cody man accused of sexually assaulting patients while employed as a nurse at the Northern Wyoming Surgical Center has been cleared of the charge, and his case fully dismissed.

On May 9, Park County attorney Bryan Skoric submitted a motion to dismiss a charge of sexual assault in the third degree against Robert W. Guty, which Guty had appealed with the Wyoming Supreme Court and Park County.

Skoric said in his motion, statements recently made by witnesses to Guty’s alleged actions are “substantially and materially inconsistent with the information that was provided to law enforcement and what the State relied on in filing this matter.”

Park County District Court Judge Bill Simpson ordered Guty’s case be dismissed with prejudice the next day. Since it was dismissed with prejudice it cannot be tried again.

The evidence at the center of Guty’s original appeal was a log of questionable behavior Guty’s coworkers began compiling before the Jan. 7, 2015, incident that led to Guty’s arrest.

In that incident, a woman undergoing surgery was allegedly sexually assaulted by Guty while under general anesthesia. Since the victim was under anaesthesia at the time of the supposed assault, it was one of Guty’s coworkers who served as the primary witness to his alleged actions.

It appears that a substantive change occurred in statements made from between when the case was opened in 2015 to the reinvestigation process that took place in the past year.

“The State no longer has a prosecutable case based upon these inconsistent statements,” Skoric wrote in his recent motion. “This dismissal in no way involves the credibility of the confidential victim in this matter.”

Guty was terminated from the Northern Wyoming Surgical Center and the incident was reported to the Wyoming State Board of Nursing. Even after the alleged actions, the board of nursing stipulated Guty could continue nursing, but could not work with female patients; conditionally pending the result of his sexual assault charges. Guty’s nursing license this applied to expired at the end of 2018. He is not currently a registered nurse in Wyoming.

In court documents it appears five nurses believed Guty was exhibiting “suspicious” behavior around female patients, seen with his hand under their clothes on a few occasions, which they kept an incident log referencing.

“The State was required to make inappropriate logical inferences, based upon the witnesses’ speculative testimony,” Guty’s criminal defense attorney Ian Sandefer said in court documents. “That Mr. Guty had a propensity to sexually assault patients.”

It was only one witness that claimed to have unequivocally seen him performing sexual assault and although others were in the room at the time of this event, no one saw Guty perform the alleged actions in question.

Guty had already entered a conditional no lo contendere, or “no contest” plea to third degree sexual assault of a patient under general anesthesia in Oct. 2017, agreeing to preserve all evidence in relation to the case.

In his no contest plea negotiated by Sandefer in November 2017: a suspended five to seven year split sentence, with one year in jail and four years to be served on supervised probation, he was still given the right to appeal his case to the Wyoming Supreme Court.

After found guilty by Simpson, Guty did indeed appeal.

When appealing to Wyoming’s highest court Guty sought to have his plea conditions altered or entire plea thrown out by having certain evidence removed from the case. The Supreme Court refused to eliminate certain pieces of evidence and returned the case in September 2018 to Park County to be retried.

It did however criticize the State’s admission of certain evidence in the case, specifically the log, to explain how the main witness discovered Guty’s actions in the single event.

“That would only be a sound basis for admission if the question of what prompted the nurse to lift the blanket became an issue,” Supreme Court Justice Kate Fox wrote in her dissertation.

In December, Simpson decided to keep all prior physical evidence for the retrial but said all depositions could not be reproduced, which Skoric opposed.