Nursing assistant indicted on 18 sex crimes charges

Mekonen is accused of rape and sex abuse involving at least 2 patients

Adeladilew Mekonen, September 22, 2016 (KOIN)
Adeladilew Mekonen, September 22, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland nursing assistant accused of sexually assaulting patients at Providence St. Vincent Hospital appeared in court Thursday afternoon after being indicted on 18 additional charges.

The additional charges Adeladilew Mekonen now faces include rape, kidnapping, unlawful sexual penetration and sexual abuse. Those felony charges involve at least 2 of 9 victims who have come forward to investigators with complaints. His bail is set at $1 million.

In addition to the investigation at St. Vincent, law enforcement is also investigating complaints of sex abuse at West Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center in SW Portland, where Mekonen worked last year. Some of the 9 victims were patients at West Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center.

In a statement, West Hills Executive Director Nicole Easley told KOIN 6 News, “The safety and well-being of our residents and employees is at the center of everything we do and our highest priority. We are fully cooperating with the investigation.”

The 34-year-old nursing assistant listened to the charges in his court appearance, including the accusation that he raped an 87-year-old patient earlier this month as well as other acts of sexual assault.

He is also charged with multiple counts of sex abuse and kidnapping a 96-year-old woman in June. Back then, law enforcement said her complaints were not substantiated and Mekonen returned to his hospital job, which included bathing and caring for female patients.

So far, possible victims range in age from their 20s to their 90s. One of those victims has already filed a $1 million civil lawsuit against Providence St. Vincent. 

Providence says it had done a background and reference check on Mekonen before hiring him this year, and cooperated with law enforcement.

Friends in court said the suspect is married with 2 children and his wife is pregnant.

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