A woman testified Tuesday, March 26th that she was 18 and excited when her jujitsu instructor from Trident Jiu-Jitsu in Ormond Beach asked her to meet him at Halifax Health Medical Center where he worked as a nurse to discuss funding her competitions in the martial art.

But the woman testified that instead of talking about funding, her instructor, Joel Gingery, who was 57 at the time and whom she considered a mentor, raped her in an on-call room at the hospital.

Gingery, now 58, went on trial this week charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of false imprisonment. He was free on $75,000 bail.

A jury of four men and three women began hearing testimony Tuesday in Circuit Judge Elizabeth Blackburn’s courtroom at the S. James Foxman Justice Center in Daytona Beach.

Gingery was employed by the University of Florida as a nurse anesthetist who was working at Halifax Health Medical Center when he was accused of raping the young woman on Aug. 21, 2022. Gingery was terminated as a UF employee on Sept. 24, 2022, and his access to Halifax Hospital was revoked, a UF spokesman wrote Tuesday.

Assistant State Attorney Helen Schwartz asked the now 20-year-old woman to recount what happened on that Sunday night in August two years ago. The woman held back tears at times. Another time, she put her head down on the witness stand and began to sob, prompting Blackburn to recess court for a few minutes.

The woman testified that she lived with her aunt and uncle in Ormond Beach and began taking jujitsu when she was 16 at Gingery’s Trident Jiu-Jitsu school.

The woman said she became close friends with Gingery’s fiancée. They were close enough that the then-teenager shared her location with the fiancée on her iPhone via the Find My Phone app.

She testified that Gingery was a black belt in jujitsu and that she was a blue belt, which she said was one level higher than a white belt, a beginner.

She said her aunt and uncle were paying for her jujitsu instructions which came to a little more than $100 a month. But she had begun to pay for some as well. She also attended three competitions, each one charging more than $100 entry fees.

She said Gingery was like a father figure, a mentor, someone she looked up to.

When she got the call from Gingery that Sunday night, she drove to Halifax where he met her outside. He was dressed in hospital scrubs. She said she thought it was a little strange to meet him at the hospital, but she believed it was because Gingery did not want people to know that he was favoring her.

She said Gingery asked her to turn off her iPhone, so she did, although she thought it was a strange request.

Schwartz played security videos from the hospital showing Gingery leading the woman through empty hallways just after 10 p.m. that Sunday.

When they reached the room, the woman said Gingery told her to sit on the bed, so she did.

She said Gingery turned the TV on kind of loud but he didn’t suggest they watch anything.

Instead, Gingery sat next to her and pulled her legs over his, she testified.

She testified, her voice breaking, that he tried to “aggressively” kiss her as she scooted away on the bed to try to get away.

“I was scared. I didn’t really know what to think. I was just scared,” she said.

She said she was shaking her head at Gingery and said “no.”

She said she couldn’t get away because a table was blocking the room’s door.

The woman said she was 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 115 pounds at the time. She appeared the same on Tuesday.

She said that while she had taken self-defense courses at Trident Jiu Jitsu, she did not believe she could employ what she learned because Gingery was too big and too strong and taller than she was.

The young woman then testified that Gingery pulled her pants down and assaulted her. She cried as she described what happened.

She said she was scared and froze. She said she didn’t say anything to him and was just silent.

The woman said Gingery got a phone call and he then led her out of the room.

She testified she called a friend who lives out of state. The friend and her friend’s mother comforted her. The mother told her to go a hospital and she went to AdventHealth in Daytona Beach. Police were later called to the hospital.

An FDLE analyst testified that a mix of DNA found on the woman’s abdomen was over 7 billion times more likely to have originated from the woman and Gingery than from the woman and some other individual.

During cross examination, Gingery’s defense attorney, Michael Lambert, asked her whether she believed her phone would show where she had been once she turned it back on. She said she did.

In response to Lambert’s question, she agreed she had indicated in her police statement that she went to the hospital to visit Gingery. Lambert said she had not mentioned in the statement about Gingery being a mentor or father figure to her or giving her money.

“I don’t believe so,” she said.

She also agreed that she had not mentioned turning off her phone at Gingery’s request.

Schwartz played for the jury a video and audio recording of the woman who was then a teenager calling Gingery from the police station. A victim advocate patted the crying woman on the shoulder as she talked to Gingery.

The woman asked Gingery if he was with his fiancée and he responded he was at the gym.

“I’m very sorry, I’m very very sorry,” Gingery said on the call as the woman cries.

“I’m sorry that I put you through that,” he said.

“It will never happen again,” Gingery said and the call disconnected.

Gingery then called her back but she did not answer.

After a two-day trial the Volusia County jury found defendant Joel Gingery guilty of two counts of Sexual Battery. The sentence is set to be announced at a later date.