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Hospital Patient Alleges Indecent Assault

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - A hospital patient claims a medical tech sexually assaulted her and took photos of it with his cell phone, and the hospital promised to, but did not, report the attack to police.

The patient, M, sued SSM Health Care St. Louis dba SSM St. Mary's Health Center, in St. Louis County Court.

M says she was brought to the hospital on Aug. 31, 2010 after suffering a seizure.

M says that a medical technician named George L. Rhodes helped her remove her clothes above her waist for an EKG. She was given pain and anti-nausea medication and the "defendant's staff then turned down the lights in plaintiff's room and suggested plaintiff take a nap," the complaint states.

"Plaintiff awoke to discover that her pants had been removed and that Rhodes was lying next to her in her hospital bed with his exposed penis pressed against her naked buttocks," the complaint states.

"At that time, Rhodes had a cell phone in his hand.

"As plaintiff screamed and pressed the call button to get help, Rhodes fled from the room."

M says a nurse appeared 10 minutes later and told her that she would notify her supervisor. About 20 minutes later, the supervisor talked to M and assured her that the police would be called, but no such call was ever made, the complaint states. "In fact, defendant never called the police about the sexual assault its employee perpetrated on plaintiff," the complaint states.

"Instead, approximately ninety (90) minutes after the nurse informed plaintiff that defendant would call the police to report the sexual assault on plaintiff by its employee, another employee of defendant informed plaintiff that the hospital was conducting its own investigation and that the police had not been called.

"At that time, plaintiff's husband, who had arrived at the hospital, called the police.

"Defendant then repeatedly urged plaintiff to 'keep quiet' and 'calm down.'"

M says she "specifically asked defendant to refrain from sending any more male technicians to treat her, [but] defendants continued to do so."

The complaint continues: "The Richmond Heights police arrived and seized Rhodes' cell phone.

"From Rhodes' cell phone, the Richmond Heights police recovered graphic images of Rhodes' sexual assault of plaintiff, images which Rhodes attempted to delete.

"As a result of the events described above, Rhodes has been charged with felony sexual assault."

M seeks punitive damages for discrimination in public accommodation, battery and negligence. She is represented by Mark Potashnick, with Weinhaus & Potashnick, of St. Louis.

SSM Health Care St. Louis dba SSM St. Mary's Health Center is the only defendant.

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