Vernon police continue investigating nurse practitioner
By WFSB Staff
VERNON, CT (WFSB) -
The police investigation is far from over after disturbing allegations surfaced that a local nurse practitioner was trying to solicit families to be his sex slaves and on Monday, investigators told Eyewitness News, the phones have been ringing with additional, potential leads.
On Oct. 28, Vernon police arrested JT Mohler-Avery, 44, and Candace Merriam, 46, of Hartford on charges they tried to have sex with an 18-month-old child.
The twisted story started in mid-October, when Vernon police said an unidentified patient of Mohler-Avery told them he had tried to recruit her, as well as her four children, for sex.
Police said Mohler-Avery is a Connecticut Licensed Nurse Practitioner who owned and operated CT Family Care LLC, at the Vernon Professional Building, 281 Hartford Turnpike, in Vernon.
After being notified, police immediately launched an investigation into the claims.
"We've received over a dozen people calling with additional information," said Police Lt. William Meier on Monday about the investigation. "We're in the process of contacting them to see what information they have and how it relates to our investigation and any other cases that may be out there."
On the night of Oct. 28, Mohler-Avery arranged for the victim and 18-month-old to be picked up in Vernon by Merriam for the purpose of having sex with the baby. He told the victim that he wanted to "break her in early," according to the arrest warrant.
When Merriam arrived, she was met by police officers and arrested without incident. At the same time, Mohler-Avery was arrested at his home without incident.
"We're still looking at all possibilities, it's still an open investigation," Meier said when asked if there is possibly other victims.
In the 30-page arrest warrant, the victim told police that she played along to get the nurse to incriminate himself and even slept with him to prove she wasn't a police officer.
"We've been in contact with her and will continue to be," Meier said when asked if the woman should have contacted the police first.
Following the arrests, Vernon police executed two search warrants at Mohler-Avery's home and Vernon office, where they seized numerous pieces of evidence pertaining to the investigation including computers.
"If these allegations are true, then I am happy with where he's at and before any child was harmed," said Tom Naughton, who manages the building where Mohler-Avery opened his own practice
Naughton told Eyewitness News that he was shocked to learn about the allegations against the nurse practitioner, who he said was very ambitious and hard working when he moved in last spring.
However, Naughton said there were problems among his own staffers.
"She alleged that there had been some situation with him being unprofessional," he said.
Vernon police officers are investigating possible billing crimes and have notified the Chief State's Attorney's Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Inspectors from that office have begun their own investigation and already secured a warrant.
Mohler-Avery also voluntarily surrendered his license to the Connecticut Department of Public Health last week.
Mohler-Avery is being held on a $1 million bond and expected to appear again in Tolland Superior Court on Nov. 28.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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