PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Did a local hospital drop the ball by allowing a nursing assistant, who was already accused of rape, to sexually assault more patients?
An 87-year-old woman says that’s exactly what happened to her, and now she’s suing Providence St. Vincent Medical Center for $1 million.
“If there would have been different procedures in place, they would have caught this guy in a hurry,” attorney Greg Kafoury explained to KOIN 6 News.
Adeladilew Mekonen, 34, was taken into custody last week after investigators looked into claims that he victimized elderly women while working at the hospital.
He faces charges of rape and unlawful penetration.
But Kafoury says the hospital already knew Mekonen was a danger to patients when his client was assaulted.
He said it all started in June when a 94-year-old woman claimed she was raped by the nursing assistant.
“When you get an accusation as serious as this, you’re really supposed to do something about it,” Kafoury said about the hospital’s actions. “You’re not supposed to look for the first door out and try to look for a way to say it never happened.”
Kafoury says officials with Providence St. Vincent Medical Center didn’t do nearly enough after the 94-year-old woman reported Mekonen earlier this summer.
His 87-year-old client is suing for negligence and abuse of a vulnerable person.
“He was allowed the same access to women alone in their room, elderly women often medicated,” Kafoury said. “Same access that he had prior to being accused.”
At least 7 women ages 27-94 have accused Mekonen of sexual assault.
Providence St. Vincent provided KOIN 6 News with the following statement:
“Providence has been working closely with law enforcement and prosecutors in this ongoing investigation. As additional patients contacted us, we worked with Washington County detectives to connect patients with investigators and conduct interviews. We played a direct part in helping detectives take action in these new cases. Providence is committed to the safety of our patients and their families. In all of our hospitals, we have a team of people working to review and investigate any patient concerns we receive. We work every day to earn the trust of our patients, just as we have been doing for 160 years.”
Mekonen is due in court on Thursday.