MISHAWAKA — Authorities are investigating an 83-year-old woman’s claims that she was sexually assaulted by a nurse last week in a Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center hospital room.
The victim reported to the hospital’s chief medical officer that a male nurse assaulted her about 10 p.m. Sept. 23.
According to a police report, the medical officer, Lynnette Watkins, called Mishawaka police, at the request of the victim, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday to report the alleged crime from the hospital at 5215 Holy Cross Parkway.
The victim told Watkins the nurse came into her room that night with one or two other unknown men. The victim said she could not see because the room was dark.
The victim said she fought and screamed during the alleged sexual assault, which caused the suspect to let go of her and leave the room with the other males, according to the report.
The victim complained of minor injuries.
Because of the time delay from the alleged offense to the time the victim reported it to the hospital, Watkins told a police officer a sexual assault exam could not be performed, although a visual inspection was completed at a later time.
When the officer attempted to get information regarding the suspect, Watkins reportedly stated that she did not have access to his file at the time and that it could be obtained from human resources. The suspect was not at the hospital when the officer took the report.
St. Joseph County’s Special Victims Unit is investigating.
There was a five-day window from when the alleged assault occurred and Watkins called police. It is unclear from a police report when the victim requested Watkins to notify police.
Hospital officials would not answer any specific questions regarding the alleged incident when reached by phone on Thursday, but released a statement over e-mail.
The statement read: "The safety, dignity and privacy of everyone at our facilities is paramount. Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center takes allegations like this very seriously. We reported the alleged incident to the Mishawaka Police Department. The alleged incident is currently under thorough investigation and SJRMC continues to fully cooperate with local authorities."
The statement did not address the status of the accused employee.
It is unclear from the police report where in the hospital the alleged offense occurred and what the woman was there for.
Staff writer Tom Moor: