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Nurse's lawyer asks court to hush accusers

If Bruce Alan Young gets his way, the five women accusing him of rape won't be talking much about their ordeals.

Young's lawyer asked the court late Friday to order the alleged victims _ and other witnesses _ to refrain from discussing the case or their testimony unless they are in the presence of the state and defense legal teams.

It's an unusual request, lawyer Bill Lackay concedes. Then again, this is an unusual case.

All the alleged victims were under anesthesia at the time of attack, he notes. As a result, their memories might not be completely clear. And if the women talked to each other or heard testimony about the other victims, they might start remembering events that never happened _ probably to Young's detriment.

"It would definitely make them more susceptible to suggestion, fabrication, and possible change of testimony or, at worst, confusion of testimony and testifying to facts that are not in existence," Lackay wrote in his motion.

"To allow the victims and witnesses to discuss this case or the testimony among themselves or to hear testimony about the other cases would create the likelihood that the testimony may change or not be "truthful,'

" he continued.

Lackay says the move is necessary to protect Young's state and federal rights to due process, a fair trial and confrontation of witnesses.

Circuit Judge John Thurman is scheduled to review the motion Monday. At that hearing Young, 45, is expected to formally plead innocent to the five felonies pending against him.

Authorities allege that Young used his fingers or other objects to sexually assault four of the women. They say he had sexual intercourse with the fifth, a 15-year-old girl.

During the attacks, Young was caring for the women while they recovered from surgery and emerged from the effects of anesthesia in Citrus Memorial Hospital's recovery room, police allege.

Investigators arrested Young on Oct. 3 after a fellow nurse said she saw him atop the 15-year-old girl. He later made incriminating statements about that attack and a second patient rape that occurred in August; prosecutors quickly added three more charges to that list after talking with more women who had been under Young's care.

A handful of other women have filed civil suits against the hospital and Young.

During an interview Friday, Lackay said he had not heard that any of the victims were gathering and discussing their testimony. So why file the motion? "I don't want them to start," he said.

He also noted that judges routinely prevent witnesses from listening to each other's testimony during trials. The procedural rules and statutes making that possible are equally applicable before trial, Lackay said.

Also Friday, Young filed a hand-written, two-paragraph response to one of the civil suits now pending against him and Citrus Memorial.

"I deny any or all counts in this and any other lawsuit forthcoming," he wrote. "I being uninformed and without legal counsel, trying to handle this as best I can or know how."