Doctors moved her from Parkland Memorial Hospital to another facility, where caregivers caught the man trying to track her down. Hospital police overlooked or ignored potential evidence and never filed charges. Hospital administrators failed to alert state regulators, as required by law. And Manuel Rodriguez went to work for a hospice company, caring for dying people in their homes. He denies wrongdoing, and Parkland said its police force found no evidence to support the rape allegation.
Parkland Memorial Hospital faces an April federal deadline to prove it is safe. The case is one of at least 25 in recent years in which patients accused Parkland caregivers of sexual abuse. One caregiver was ticketed and fined. Parkland has made it difficult to see how the cases were handled. The public hospital has sued the Texas attorney general in an effort to shield records. For a year, hospital officials refused to release any police investigative reports to The Dallas Morning News and would not answer most questions.
Last month, they again declined interview requests, but did release a four-page statement and a selection of police records. But the newspaper, using other sources, had already pieced together extensive details about several cases. All showed signs of poor police work, with one going officially uninvestigated for a year. Some patients and front-line workers involved in the cases alleged cover-ups. For example, some accusers made vague, shifting allegations, and some seemed delirious.
But other cases were closed with little or no investigation, deemed to be medical procedures or bathing assistance that patients misunderstood. In the four cases about which The News had already pieced together the most information, the newly released investigative records raised further questions about police conduct.
The Parkland statement did not address questions asked of hospital leaders: How many sexual abuse cases have come to light recently, since the newspaper last sought police records under the Public Information Act? What were the allegations? How did Parkland respond? There has been at least one new case, the newspaper learned. Government regulators found in December that a psychiatric aide had been inappropriately touching a patient.
Hospital police filed no charges. In reviewing some of these cases, those agencies did find deficiencies in reporting, documentation or procedures surrounding the incidents. At no time did those agencies suggest that police handling of the incidents was insufficient or inappropriate. Federal monitors have reported significant progress by the hospital in some areas as well as ongoing patient-safety breakdowns. They have said nothing publicly about possible crimes committed by caregivers.
In late , when the newspaper began researching sexual abuse allegations, Parkland said there had been 15 such complaints against employees in the previous four years. In the other case, Parkland police accused a nurse aide of improperly touching a patient near her genitals and ticketed the man in for Class C misdemeanor assault. The maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is a year in jail.
The maximum for a first-degree felony is life in prison. The aide resigned from Parkland — which failed, as it did in the Rodriguez case, to make a required report to regulators. But sexual abuse of patients has been documented around the country since at least the s. And predators in health-care settings, experts say, are the same as predators everywhere: They choose victims who are particularly vulnerable — physically or mentally or because their credibility can be questioned.
Patients are doubly vulnerable, she said. Predators have extraordinary access to their bodies. She cited research showing that most sexual abuse allegations are never reported to police and, of those that are, fewer than 10 percent are false. Victims of imprisoned ex-pediatrician Earl B. Defendants included Beebe Medical Center, where Bradley worked for more than a decade after a nurse complained that he was performing inappropriate vaginal exams of young girls.
He reportedly videotaped the abuse. Lawyers estimate that Beebe had nearly 1, victims. George Reardon, now deceased, molested and pornographically photographed hundreds of children under the guise of performing scientific research. The psychiatrists previously worked at state-run or state-funded facilities in at least three other Texas cities. Until , Parkland was the only place in Dallas County providing this service. She questioned whether Parkland police should handle serious criminal allegations against their fellow employees.
Duane Stubbe, who served deferred-adjudication probation for exposing himself to a Collin County girl. State regulators suspended his license for six months, but he kept his Parkland job. Stubbe completed probation successfully, so no conviction appears on his record. Separately, they have praised their police department for preventing sex crime. Rick Roebuck as saying. He made the lowest possible passing score on a basic math test. No one else was considered for the position.
Another male aide was in the process of being terminated — after being accused, for the third time in three years, of sexually abusing female patients. He was 53 at the time and, after a career as a printer, had just spent a few weeks training at Parkland to become a certified aide. A conveyor belt injury had left her in chronic pain and largely unable to use the right side of her body, including her dominant right hand. She lost her job, car, home and ability to live independently.
Rodriguez was her most helpful caregiver at first. Afterward, she said, he cleaned their genitals and put her bed sheets in the linen drop. She remembered being restrained by terror, too: Rodriguez, she said, showed her that he had access to her medical records, so he knew where she lived with relatives. A Parkland detective verified that Rodriguez had looked up her address in the computer, a police report says.
There, she said, she finally felt safe enough to tell an employee what Rodriguez had done. A Parkland police officer was summoned to her Zale room. It was the afternoon of March 29, — six days after the alleged rape, according to a Parkland police report. DPD says it gets involved only if it responds first to a major crime in progress or if Parkland seeks help. Hospital police did not immediately arrange for a physical examination of the woman, ask her to undergo a rape exam or refer her to a counselor.
Two Parkland officers escorted her from Zale back to their hospital to have a rape exam done, police records say. Experts say it often makes sense to perform rape exams beyond 96 hours, especially if the accuser, like the one in this case, has had limited physical activity. One reason is to check for internal injuries. In the same call, she told The News, he also made the sound of a gun. She spoke with a Parkland counselor, whose notes describe her as tearful, fearful and intensely depressed.
On April 2, according to UTSW police records, he showed up at Zale, apparently unaware she had already been discharged. Dressed in street clothes and a white ball cap, he asked to see the woman and gave nurses his name. They refused to help him and alerted police, but Rodriguez left before officers arrived. Rodriguez, who has never been convicted of a crime, declined an interview request.
He diagnosed her with major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, including nightmares and flashbacks, which he said stemmed from her work injury, disability and pain.
The woman told The News that doctors, generally working through translators, had asked her to visualize as part of stress-reduction therapy. She said she knew the difference between the imaginary and the reality of rape. Two weeks had passed since the alleged rape, but bruises were still visible on her calves and upper arms. Parkland also gave her a brochure from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault that explains how vulnerable the disabled are to sexual abuse.
The detective wrote a report saying that she learned two things from the call: There is no mention of her bruises in this report or any other police records released by Parkland. The detective, Darlene Griffin, closed the case that day. The News, in hours of interviews with the patient over several months, detected no inconsistencies. It found no sign in her medical records that caregivers doubted the truthfulness of her rape report. The newspaper did find, deep in a box of her personal papers, hospital menus from the day after the alleged rape.
An unsigned memo dated April 12 told Rodriguez to return to duty. It decreed that aides could no longer care for patients of the opposite sex unless another caregiver was present. A nursing administrator responded by noting that problems could also arise when caregivers worked alone with patients of the same gender.
He told Parkland that he worked as a nurse in Iraq and as a translator for U. Seven months in Accusations: He told the newspaper that a vindictive co-worker manufactured the accusations. He said he was trying to help her with pain. Hasan quit his job. Parkland police later charged him with Class C misdemeanor assault. He was convicted in a justice of the peace court and assessed the maximum penalty: