Nurse convicted of sexually assaulting patients walks free for days
COBB COUNTY, Ga. - After a manhunt, a former nurse convicted of sex crimes against women and children turned himself into Cobb County authorities after he was erroneously released from a Georgia Department of Corrections facility.
In 2011, Paul Serdula was sentenced to life in prison on numerous charges related to videotaping sexual assaults of various patients who were adult women and children, as the patients were sedated in various Cobb County medical and dental facilities. Authorities said they obtained hundreds of videos of sexual acts against females.
He was erroneously released Monday from the Wheeler Correctional Facility in Alamo, Georgia, and was supposed to be sent back to the Cobb County Detention Center to await further court proceedings; a judge from the Georgia Court of Appeals vacated his conviction in February.
The Cobb County Sheriff's Office said their fugitive unit was searching for Serdula before he turned himself in.
The Georgia Department of Corrections released this statement:
"Once the sentence was vacated, Cobb reached out to GDC and made a request to release directly to them. That request was documented. When the individuals at Wheeler CI began running their normal release process on Serdula, they found no detainers and no legal authority to hold him. They did, however, overlook the request that had been made by Cobb."
One of Serdula's victims spoke to FOX 5 News, concerned that a man with such heinous charges and a life sentence was able to simply walk free.
"The justice system has failed these victims and these patients. It scares me for other women, anywhere. he is a predator, and he is free," the victim said, while he was still at large. She said she felt relief after learning he had been taken back into custody.
In February, a judge for the Georgia Court of Appeals vacated Serdula's convictions after his defense argued that Judge Reuben Green, who oversaw the trial, should have recused himself from the case; Judge Green ignored such initial objections by the defense and proceeded to oversee the case.
The Georgia Court of Appeals made their judgment based on Serdula's arguments over the "close relationship" of Judge Green with then-District Attorney Patrick Head and his "involvement in his recent campaign."
Serdula will sit in the Cobb County Detention Center without bond while waiting for the latest court proceedings. The Floyd County District Attorney has now taken over the case, as current Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds has recused his office from prosecution.
A different Cobb County judge will preside over on the recusal motion. If the recusal motion is denied, then the conviction against Serdula will be reinstated. If the recusal motion is granted, Serdula would get the chance to have a new trial.