Man accused of sexual misconduct with mental health patient

Atiba Adams is accused of sexual misconduct with a mental patient. (Port St. Lucie Police)

**Warning: Story contains graphic content.**

Police arrested a man who is accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with a mental health patient in Fort Pierce.

The investigation began earlier this month when a new patient at an unnamed state mental health facility told police a staff member sexually assaulted him.

According to the affidavit from the Fort Pierce Police Department, the patient said staff member Atiba Adams initially shared sexually explicit notes with him. The patient said Adams gave him lotion and told him to go into the bathroom to masturbate as a way to relieve stress. The patient said Adams walked into the bathroom where there was no lock on the door and helped him masturbate, the affidavit said. The man said he pulled away in disbelief and Adams walked out of the bathroom.

The patient, according to police, reported the incident to a staff member who called 911.

Adams told police he worked at the facility as a mental health technician for the past two years, checking vitals and monitoring patients and their overall activities. Adams said he'd been assigned to the new patient because he was at risk for falling. Adams said he shared written notes and private conversations with the patient about past experiences, according to the affidavit.

Adams denied giving the patient any inappropriate advice for stress release, according to his initial statement to police. He said the patient came up to him to ask to use the bathroom. Adams said he just pushed the bathroom door closed since it wasn't closing properly and denied opening it or having any inappropriate interaction with the patient as he used the bathroom.

During the interview with police, Adams then said he made a joke and told the patient he could masturbate to release stress, but denied touching the man. Adams told investigators he didn't know why he did it, but he was sorry and wanted to start over with his life, according to the report.

Adams changed his story for a third time and ultimately admitted to walking in on the patient and grabbing his penis as he masturbated, according to the affidavit. Adams said the man looked at him and smiled. Adams said he let go and sat down in a chair.

Authorities issued a warrant for Adams' arrest. Police said he surrendered to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office last Wednesday.

Adams, 29, is being held on a $10,000 bond.

The criminal affidavit from police stated Adams worked for the Department of Children and Families. CBS12 spoke to the agency to check on whether Adams worked for DCF. As of Tuesday afternoon, a media spokeswoman said the agency found no record of Adams being an employee.

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