GRAND JUNCTION, CO- A lawsuit has been filed against a Colorado hospital system with two patients alleging a male nurse sexually assaulted and photographed them after they were drugged, the Charlotte Observer reports.
According to the class action lawsuit filed earlier this month, approximately four terabytes of data, which included 700,000 photos and 65,000 hours of video found on the nurse’s cellphone show the suspect was engaged in “drugging, sexual touching (and) sexual penetration” of patients with incidents dating back to 2016, the suit alleges.
The suspect, Christopher Lambros, 61, was employed at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction. He was arrested this past October on a warrant charging him with three counts of sexual assault, according to the Grand Junction Police Department. The city is located approximately 240 miles southwest of Denver.
Police started investigating Lambros after another hospital employee witnessed him taking a photo of a patient’s genitals on July 9, the warrant alleged.
The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of two Lambros victims accuses him of giving medication to render them unconscious before exposing them and sexually touching them as he recorded the interaction. The plaintiffs were not named in the suit.
In a statement, Daniel P. Rubenstein, district attorney in Mesa County, CO., noted Lambros has been charged in connection with incidents involving the two victims, however said there are currently a total of four victims, three of whom have been identified.
“The case is set for a return in January, as we are still investigating,” Rubenstein wrote. “We cannot comment on what evidence we have, and also cannot speculate on what we may find.”
On June 24 and again on June 25, Lambros drugged and assaulted one of the victims while in the intensive care unit, the suit alleges. The woman had “foggy memories” of the assault when she awoke from being unconscious, according to the suit.
That led the woman to tell people around her, including hospital employees and family members, that Lambros was a “bad man,” the suit alleges.
“She didn’t learn about the alleged assaults until several months after she was released from the hospital.”
“(She) has suffered severe emotional distress because of the assault and invasion of her privacy,” the lawsuit says.
She is still in the midst of paying about $905 per month toward her medical bill, which totaled approximately $32,000.
The second assault occurred on July 9, when Lambros took photos and videos of his assault.. That was the incident witnessed by a hospital employee, who said Lambros was taking photos of the patient and lying with his head on her “bare stomach,” the lawsuit says.
In one somewhat morbid video from June 24, Lambros whispers into the camera, “Don’t ever get rid of these videos. You need to keep them forever. This is your Dexter collection.” Dexter is a crime television program about a serial killer and blood spatter expert.
In suing St. Mary’s Medical Center, the lawsuit alleges the hospital’s negligence contributed to the ability of Lambros to drug and sexually assault patients while he was employed there.
The suit identifies the contention that hospital personnel should have been aware of Lambros’ use of sedative medication, which he was not authorized to administer to patients.
Further, the suit argues that other hospital staff should have noticed indications of sexual assault on the victims, including bleeding, bruising, and redness. Moreover, the hospital should have taken note of his actions on surveillance cameras present in patient rooms, the suit says.
“The sheer volume of data collected by Lambros shows that he engaged in sexual misconduct and invasions of privacy related to his patients on a regular basis…,” the suit says.
plaintiffs also argue that due to the “frequency at which Lambros engaged” in the assaults, “his conduct was or should have been apparent to Defendants St. Mary’s, SCL Health, and Intermountain.
St. Mary’s is affiliated as a subsidiary of SCL Health and Intermountain Healthcare, who underwent a merger in April, the lawsuit says.
In a statement, SCL Health/Intermountain advised Lambros was placed on administrative leave as soon as the allegations against him came forth. He was fired from the hospital after his arrest.
“What this former nurse is accused of is reprehensible and goes against everything we believe and value at St. Mary’s Medical Center,” Bryan Johnson, president of St. Mary’s said in a statement. “Patients put their trust in us and should feel safe in our care. We are working closely with law enforcement to protect our patients from those who intend to cause harm.”
In addition, the healthcare system said they were reaching out to “known victims” and also set up a call center to answer any questions or concerns.
Among losses reported by Lambros’ victims were medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish and emotional distress, the lawsuit alleges. The plaintiffs are seeking both damages in as yet undetermined amount, in addition to pre-and post-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees.
Attorneys for the complainants believe there may be more victims and are asking anyone who was a patient at the hospital and may have been accessible to Lambros between 2012 to 2022 to contact their office.
Lambros is currently being held on a $1 million bond in the Mesa County Jail, the sheriff’s office reported.
This is not the first time St. Mary’s has been sued under such circumstances. In 2018, a former patient sued the hospital, alleging they were sexually assaulted by an unsupervised visitor in 2017 while in a coma in the hospital’s emergency room.
That suspect, Adam Tice, pleaded guilty in 2018 to one count of assault and one count of unlawful sexual assault and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
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