Osawatomie KS Dec 3 2016 A worker at Osawatomie State Hospital who reported being raped by a patient is suing the state, arguing she should have been told her attacker had a history of strangling his wife.
The woman filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court. In October 2015, police say, a 42-year-old male patient raped a 21-year-old female staff member. Prosecutors later charged Aaron C. Goodman, of Hartford, and the case is ongoing.
The incident took place in the months leading up to the federal government’s decision to take away the psychiatric hospital’s Medicare certification. Inspectors cited security lapses and other issues.
The woman’s lawsuit alleges management-level employees should have known the patient’s history of being “physically and sexually aggressive toward women.” The lawsuit also says required security checks weren’t performed, including at the time of the attack.
“Kansas also had security personnel that were supposed to perform 10-minute safety rounds through the area where the dangerous patient was being held,” the lawsuit reads. “Video camera recordings from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. revealed that the security personnel failed to perform any of the 10 minute safety rounds during this period of time, and, in particular, failed to check on the dangerous patient as well as many others.”
The failure of staff to perform the security checks alarmed federal inspectors. The woman’s lawsuit echoes the findings of their 2015 report.
A report from inspectors said before the attack, staff didn’t conduct a required check of the patient. Video footage showed an observational check logged at about the same time as the attack didn’t actually take place.
Additionally, according to the woman’s lawsuit, no workers were monitoring security cameras at the time of the attack.
The lawsuit also alleges the woman and other female coworkers had been sexually and verbally assaulted by male patients before the attack.
“Plaintiff was exposed to a sexually hostile work environment while she worked at defendant Kansas, and defendant Kansas failed to take reasonable steps to protect her,” the lawsuit reads.
A spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services declined to comment. State agencies typically decline to comment on pending legal matters.
During the past year, Osawatomie State Hospital has been pursuing recertification. As of late August, decertification had cost the facility about $8 million in lost funding.
In November, KDADS began seeking bids to privatize the facility. Under a request for proposal, a contractor would assume responsibility for providing at least 206 inpatient beds, with a minimum of 94 to remain at Osawatomie.
“It’s not so much that’s the way we necessarily want to go, but we want to consider all options and see if there aren’t some better models,” KDADS Secretary Tim Keck told the Associated Press last month.