Travis Lemar Woodward

Travis Lamar Woodward. Provided

A nearly 6-foot-tall, 200-pound man was arrested Monday afternoon on charges of sexually assaulting a nurse at the Medical University of South Carolina's 82-bed psychiatric care facility.

The alleged attacker, 28-year-old Travis Lamar Woodward, was charged with first degree assault and battery, a felony. He was a patient at the MUSC Institute of Psychiatry at the time of the attack on Friday.

Woodward became angry after being told he had to wait to see a senior resident, according to an incident report by the campus police force. He was put into a separate, locked room to calm down.

When a nurse turned back to ensure the restroom door to the "seclusion room" was locked, Woodward forced it open and attacked her, ripping her clothes, she told police. He was known to staff at the Institute of Psychiatry as "extremely violent and aggressive."

Woodward remained a patient over the weekend but was arrested Monday at the hospital by an MUSC Department of Public Safety officer, according to charging documents.

In a statement released Tuesday, MUSC spokeswoman Heather Woolwine said patients in the psychiatric hospital are sick, often with debilitating mental illness.

"They are only on that unit when they have been deemed a danger to themselves or others," she said. "While some might assume that an acute psychiatric care unit would see a disproportionate share of violence toward care team members, our experience and evidence in the literature demonstrates that these individuals are more often a danger to themselves as opposed to our care team members."

Still, a higher ratio of nurses are assigned to the psychiatric hospital than in other parts of the system, to encourage safety, Woolwine said. Staff is trained in de-escalation. Seclusion rooms are used as a last resort.

Woodward appeared in Charleston County Bond Court on Leeds Avenue in North Charleston on Tuesday morning, where a judge set his bond at $150,000 and ordered him not to contact the victim or her family. 

The nurse appeared in court Tuesday to say Woodward "violently attacked" her. The Post and Courier is not publishing her name because she is a victim of sexual assault. She told Magistrate Judge Amanda Haselden that Woodward has been dangerous before.

"It is not the first attempt, or the first time it's happened," she said in court.

"Are you in fear of him?," Haselden said to the nurse.

"Absolutely," she responded.

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MUSC employees who are victims of crime are offered free counseling and have access to "a full range of psychiatrists and psychologists," Woolwine said. A sexual assault and rape advocacy group becomes involved if the attack takes a sexual form. Victims are also allowed time away from work to recover and heal, Woolwine said.

Haselden warned Woodward that he could endanger his case if he spoke during the bond hearing. Nevertheless, he denied putting his hands on the MUSC nurse.

"None of this stuff is true," he said. "That's all I want to say."

He also requested to see a picture of the nurse, indicating he didn't know what she looked like. The judge gave him a firm "no."

Woodward has two prior convictions for third degree assault and battery in Charleston County, one each in 2012 and 2015. He was also convicted in 2012 of malicious injury to real property.

Someone can be found guilty of first degree assault and battery if they injure another person, and while doing so, they touch the private parts of that person under or above their clothing without consent.

Woodward is scheduled to appear in court again in October.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

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