Nurse accused of assaulting her father and a jailer faces licensing sanctions

By: - March 13, 2023 2:34 pm

An Iowa nurse accused of attacking a county jailer and pouring “homemade acid” on her father is facing possible licensing sanctions. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Board of Nursing)

A registered nurse accused of attacking a county jailer and dousing her father with a substance police called “homemade acid” is now facing possible sanctions from the Iowa Board of Nursing.

Jeannie Murphy, 48, of Oelwein, is charged by the board with being involved in the unauthorized possession or use of a controlled substance and failing to comply with an unspecified order of the board.

The circumstances that led to those charges being filed are not being made public pursuant to a 2021 Iowa Supreme County ruling that keeps confidential the alleged facts that give rise to licensing-board charges until the cases are completely resolved.

Court records indicate that on Jan. 4, Murphy was arrested at the Oelwein home she shared with her father, Mitchell Murphy. She was charged with domestic abuse assault with intent to inflict serious injury.

According to court records, Mitchell Murphy told police he had been sleeping in a living room chair and awoke shortly before 4 a.m. to find his daughter standing nearby, staring at him, and holding a liquid-filled bottle while wearing plastic gloves.

According to police, Mitchell Murphy told officers Jeannie informed him she had “acid” in the bottle, then walked toward him and splashed the liquid on him, asking him how if felt as she poured the rest of the bottle’s contents on him. Jeannie Murphy allegedly informed the police that she had concocted what the officers characterized as “homemade acid” by mixing together common household products, telling officers it had burned her arms.

The solution consisted of beef broth, molasses and other ingredients, police reported, but Jeannie Murphy “believed it to truly be acid.” The available police records give no indication as what injuries, if any, were sustained by Mitchell Murphy.

A district court judge recently ordered that Jeannie Murphy undergo a mental health evaluation to determine whether she is competent to stand trial.

Five days after her arrest in that case, while in the Fayette County Jail, Murphy allegedly attacked a detention officer, court records show. After being Tasered, she allegedly attacked the officer a second time, which resulted in the officer sustaining a concussion. Murphy was charged with attempted murder and felony assault. Prosecutors later dismissed the attempted murder charge, and proceedings in the felony assault case were suspended pending the outcome of a competency evaluation.

In April 2022, Murphy was arrested after being pulled over for erratic driving, according to court records. A search of her purse allegedly resulted in officers finding a bag of THC gummies. A charge of possession of marijuana was dismissed after a judge granted a defense motion to suppress any evidence collected in the search. Two weeks after that arrest, Murphy was convicted of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol — a charge that stemmed from an arrest in 2021.

The Iowa Board of Nursing has scheduled a hearing in Murphy’s disciplinary case for April 5.

More board action

Other licensees recently sanctioned by the Board of Nursing include:

Brooke Johnston, 42, of Clive: The board recently voted to suspend Johnston’s license pending the completion of a chemical-dependency and mental-health evaluation. If her license is later reinstated, it will be subject to 12 months’ probation, during which time she will be enrolled in a chemical screening program. Last year, Johnston was criminally charged with obtaining or attempting to obtain a prescription drug or device by engaging in fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

She was subsequently convicted of stealing Adderall, a narcotic commonly used to treat adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, while working at UnityPoint-Iowa Methodist Medical Center in November 2021. The drug was prescribed to a patient at the hospital. As part of the criminal-case proceedings, she was fined $1,000 and placed on two years’ probation. If she successfully completes criminal probation, the court record of her conviction will be expunged.

In 2020, the board ordered Johnston to complete four-and-a-half hours of educational training after she was accused of leaving her post at a care facility while leaving a medication cart unlocked and unattended.

Rachel Flowers, 41, of North Liberty: The board ordered Flowers to complete a three-day course on professional boundaries and ethics after alleging that while working at an unspecified care facility from 2019 to 2021, she engaged in a personal relationship with a patient. Flowers was charged with initiating a sexual, emotional, social, or business relationship with a patient for personal gain regardless of patient consent.

James Russell of Bryan, Texas: The board ordered Russell to complete 30 hours of educational training on professional ethics. The board alleged that at some point in the past, while working in Iowa at an unspecified hospital, Russell’s contract was “prematurely canceled.” Afterward, he allegedly came into the hospital with “odor of alcohol on or about his person” and “used vulgarities” while in a common area or in the presence of patients. He was charged with engaging in behavior that was contradictory to professional standards.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.