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Patient tells police she was raped at hospital emergency room in Orange County

March 15, 2011 |  5:01 pm

A female patient has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a hospital worker while seeking treatment in the emergency room at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, according to police.

Orange police received a report from the hospital about the alleged assault by a patient care technician on March 9, a day after the woman was treated, but had not yet talked to the alleged assailant as of Tuesday afternoon -- five days later, according to a department spokesman.

Sgt. Dan Adams said that a patrol officer took reports from the hospital and that the victim filed the paperwork by Thursday. But the detective bureau is generally closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays unless there is a pressing case like a murder, he said, and on Monday all of the department’s detectives were tied up investigating a homicide.

“The timeline is very normal for an investigation like this,” Adams said.

Adams said the patient first reported the incident to the hospital, which in turn contacted the Police Department.

Hospital officials refused to provide details about the alleged attack, saying that they needed to “respect the rights and privacy of everyone involved in this situation.”

“St. Joseph Hospital is committed to providing the highest quality of care, safety and support to our patients,” the hospital said in a statement, adding that officials are “fully cooperating” with the police investigation.

An official with the state Department of Public Health said that office also has opened an investigation but declined to provide further details.


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-- Jessica Garrison