Lawsuit: College Park hospital’s neglect led to patient’s rape

She was there for treatment of issues stemming from a sexual assault that occurred when she was in 6th grade.

Instead, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Clayton County, the now 16-year-old girl found herself victimized again — raped this past February by an 18-year-old male patient at Anchor Hospital, an in-patient psychiatric facility specializing in behavioral health disorders.

“It’s mind-blowing that a child would be raped again at a place where she went for help,” said attorney Chris Stewart, who represents the girl’s mother.

The assailant, who was not identified in the civil lawsuit, was arrested and charged in February with felony rape by Clayton police. The lawsuit alleges Anchor Hospital breached its duty to properly supervise and protect its patients and points to “a history of negligence.”

In March 2014, federal inspectors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, found the facility “failed to assure that nursing staff was available per the policy/staffing plan to meet the needs of the patients.”

The inspection was prompted by six complaints, according to a copy of the CMS report provided by Stewart. It found inadequate supervision on a total of 19 shifts over three separate weeks.

In one week in December 2013 inspectors noted four patients sleeping in the day room due to lack of staffing. Earlier that year, a nurse at the hospital was charged with sexual assault after College Park police said she groped a male patient. Officers said the nurse was drunk at the time, with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal driving limit.

And just a few months ago Clayton police issued a Mattie’s Call for a patient, suffering from extreme paranoia and schizoaffective disorder, who escaped the hospital.

A representative from Anchor’s parent company, United Health Services, Inc., did not respond to requests for comment.

In the latest incident, the victim, identified in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe,” said she was showering when the 18-year-old patient entered the bathroom and raped her. An unidentified female patient served as a “lookout” while the sexual assault occurred, police said.

The victim told police she didn’t want to identify the male patient because he apologized the next day and was already in trouble with the law. Her mother filed the report after learning about the alleged attack, police said. His identity was shielded by a health privacy laws.

According to the lawsuit, Anchor officials were aware of the accused rapist’s criminal history.

“There’s video, we’ve been informed by the police, that showed the lookout, showed the perpetrator entering the shower,” Stewart said. “Someone at that facility who monitors the video should’ve been watching, should’ve seen from the video something weird was going on. But they failed to do that.”

The victim has suffered “severe emotional distress, post-traumatic stress and depression” since the assault and “has been unable to function properly in her normal capacities,” the suit states.

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