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EMT Raped Woman in Orange County Hospital, Officials Say

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Police in Mission Viejo arrested Jesse Karim Pena, a 31-year-old emergency medical technician at Mission Hospital on suspicion of raping a woman inside a hospital while she was too intoxicated to resist, The Orange County Register reports. Police are saying that they believe there may have been more victims in this personal injury case. Investigators said DNA linked Pena to the rape of a patient at Mission Hospital who reported to police that she was assaulted while receiving medical care at the hospital.

The victim, who was only identified as a 31-year-old woman, was taken to Mission Hospital by ambulance on February 20, 2009. Officials got a 911 call from the hospital from the woman who told investigators that she felt as if she had been raped. The woman was apparently semi-conscious and intoxicated during the assault, but she told officials that she knew someone raped her. The newspaper reports that the woman was not able to resist because she was under the influence of “an intoxicating substance, an anesthetic substance and a controlled substance.” Police investigators took DNA samples from all three emergency medical technicians who had access to the woman at the hospital. The DNA on her gown matched Pena’s, officials said.

My heart goes out to the victim of this horrific and heinous crime. Here was a woman who was taken to the hospital for emergency treatment. Getting raped, sexually assaulted or molested in the hospital by an emergency medical technician is the last thing that she should have had to worry about. She was in an extremely vulnerable state and this man took advantage of her vulnerability. Despicable!

The newspaper report says Pena works as an independent contractor EMT and has worked in hospitals in Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties in the last four years. However, some comments in response to the news article indicate EMTs are hospital employees. Investigators are also checking to see if there are other victims out there. Pena also apparently worked three times in Mission Hospital in October and November 2008 as well as in February. If you believe you were a victim or have information about someone else who may have been victimized please call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 1-866-547-6273.

I sincerely hope Pena is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. A skilled Orange County personal injury lawyer would also be able to look into whether the hospital failed in its duty to its patient by allowing this to happen in their facility. According to California law (CACI 514), “a hospital is negligent if it does not use reasonable care toward its patients. A hospital must provide procedures, policies, facilities, supplies and qualified personnel reasonably necessary for the treatment of its patients.”

In the context of this law, here are some questions that arise. Who was supervising this EMT? Does the hospital have a procedure in place to determine who has access to their patients? Do they perform background checks on all employees and contract workers who have access to their patients? The answers to these questions will help determine whether the hospital is liable for the woman’s physical and emotional injuries in this case.

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