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story.lead_photo.caption Mitchell Dee Atkins

BENTONVILLE -- A woman faced the man Monday she trusted to provide her medical care who, instead, sexually assaulted her.

"I went to seek medical treatment from you and met you for the first time," the woman said. "That day has haunted me, and I wonder every day what would give you the right to hurt me."

She is one of four women who accused Mitchell Dee Atkins of sexual assault. The woman was the only victim to speak at Monday's court hearing.

Atkins, 52, of Springdale pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of sexual assault. He was arrested April 21, 2017, at the Decatur Medi-Clinic where he worked as a nurse practitioner. He was accused of engaging in sexual contact with the women through force, according to court documents.

Two clinic patients reported Atkins touched them inappropriately when giving them shots with no other medical personnel present, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Two other women came forward after Atkins' arrest, according to court documents.

The woman who spoke in court told Atkins she had a heart transplant seven years ago and depends on doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. She now questions their intentions and isn't sure she will ever trust them again.

"You took a part of me that will forever change me, but I want you to know this will never break me completely because I am a survivor," the woman said.

Atkins declined to speak.

Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green accepted Atkins' guilty plea and placed him on 10 years of state supervised probation. He must serve 118 days in the Benton County Jail, will be required to register as a sex offender and he must be evaluated for a sex offender treatment program.

Atkins must pay $1,670 in court associated costs.

The judge ordered Atkins not to have any contact with his victims.

Green placed the blame for Atkins' actions on him.

"All they did is go to the doctors'," Green said. "You violated their bodies and their trust."

The judge denied a request for Atkins to be allowed work release.

Atkins surrendered his nursing license after his arrest.

General News on 06/13/2018

Print Headline: Former nurse admits sexually assaulting patients

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