SOUTH BEND IN Feb 7 2017— A former Memorial Hospital security guard alleges in a lawsuit that he was fired after telling superiors about a co-worker he saw watching female patients undressing and being examined in an emergency room.
In a second, related lawsuit, another former guard at the hospital alleges he was fired after testifying in support of the first guard in an unemployment hearing.
Based on jail and court records, hospital officials apparently did not report the 2014 and 2015 allegations of voyeurism to law enforcement authorities. A St. Joseph County prosecutor's office spokeswoman confirmed that office and the Special Victims Unit received no report.
Beacon Health System spokeswoman Maggie Scroope said in an email, "We do not comment on former employees who are in the process of suing us. With the safety of our patients and staff in mind, we are confident that all actions on the part of Memorial Hospital were appropriate."
Scroope did not respond to questions about why the allegations were apparently not reported, whether the accused guard is still employed there, or about policies regarding any security cameras in emergency rooms.
Beacon Health System is the parent company of Memorial.
These are the events alleged in the first lawsuit:
• Rick Bradley of Plymouth worked as an armed security guard at Memorial for nine years. On Sept. 16, 2014, he reported to two security department supervisors that "he had caught (a co-worker) several times peering through a security camera into the examination room where females were undressing and being examined."
• One of the supervisors said he heard the man "had been doing 'this' for years." After no action was taken, Bradley met with two hospital administrators in January 2015 to report the issue, who in turn told the security supervisors to take action. Several weeks later, the administrators took the problem to the director of a different department.
• On Feb. 6, 2015, Bradley was fired, accused of "being in an office drawer located in an office space inside our Centennial Medical Square Suite 616," which the lawsuit calls "a petty, pretextual reason designed to cover the real reason for the termination."
The second lawsuit was filed on behalf of Forrest Perkins, a security officer at Memorial for four years who was fired June 18, 2015, "for allegedly not paying for a ladle of gravy from the hospital cafeteria."
Perkins, who was earlier a Michigan state trooper for more than 20 years, had testified on Bradley's behalf on May 12, 2015, at an unemployment benefits hearing. According to the lawsuit, Perkins had never been written up for a handbook violation or had any disciplinary complaints against him.
LaPorte attorney Shaw Friedman, who represents the two men, said Perkins testified at the unemployment hearing to Bradley's work and work ethics and his secondhand knowledge of the voyeurism allegations.
Friedman said "at least" three former Memorial employees are prepared to testify to knowledge of the alleged voyeur.
Both former guards now work security for the St. Joseph County Courthouse, Friedman said.
The lawsuits were filed in September. In December, St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jenny Manier denied motions filed by Memorial attorneys to dismiss the two cases.
South Bend Tribune