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Nurse indicted in sexual assault at Waco hospital

Nurse indicted in sexual assault at Waco hospital

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A nurse accused of sexually assaulting a patient he was treating at a Waco hospital in 2017 and who is a defendant in a pending lawsuit remains in the McLennan County Jail after his arrest this week.

Miguel Angel Martinez-Rivera, 26, was indicted Oct. 1, but his indictment remained sealed because he had not been arrested. The indictment was unsealed this week after he was jailed under $40,000 bond and on an immigration detainer.

Miguel Angel Martinez-Rivera

Martinez-Rivera

According to the indictment against Martinez-Rivera, he sexually assaulted a 54-year-old Robinson woman Aug. 1, 2017, at Ascension Providence while she was under hospital care for an abdominal abscess.

Martinez-Rivera, the hospital and Providence Healthcare Network are the subject of a lawsuit the woman filed in Waco’s 74th State District Court in March of last year.

Judge Gary Coley granted a request Wednesday from the woman’s attorney, Ryan Johnson, to depose Martinez-Rivera while he still is in jail and before any possible action could be taken by immigration officials.

Johnson said his client reported the sexual assault to hospital staff and to a social worker on the day it happened, but claims hospital officials encouraged her not to report the assault to law enforcement, instead telling her “we’ll take care of it,” Johnson said. However, the hospital did not report the sexual assault as required by law, he said.

Johnson said after his firm took the woman’s case, he again asked Ascension Providence officials to report the assault.

“Inexplicably, Providence again refused to notify local law enforcement or to the Department of Health and Human Services as required by law,” Johnson said. “When you go to Providence Hospital to be treated, no one expects to be sexually assaulted by a Providence nurse. In light of the recent grand jury indictment, the leadership of Providence Hospital should be ashamed of itself. Waco deserves better.

“On behalf of our entire community, we demand full transparency by Providence leadership and a clear answer as to why Providence Hospital leadership never reported this sexual assault to local law enforcement or to the Department of Health and Human Services. Providence leadership’s failure to act enabled this nurse to continue treating vulnerable patients for the past three years, despite knowing about this sexual assault,” Johnson said. “This case should be important to all Wacoans because it affects some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

Ascension Providence spokesperson Danielle Hall declined comment Wednesday, saying the hospital does not comment on pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, Martinez-Rivera entered the 54-year-old woman’s room after her husband left the hospital and closed the door. He took the patient’s remote that is used to call for help and moved it beyond her reach, according to the lawsuit.

He tried to give her a sponge bath, but the woman refused his treatment. So he gave her soap and a towel and watched her clean herself, the suit alleges. Martinez-Rivera said he was going to clean the woman’s catheter, which the lawsuit claims was unnecessary and undocumented. She refused, but he persisted, saying, “you will enjoy this,” the suit alleges.

She threatened to scream for help, but he told her no one would hear her, according to the suit. As the woman continued to tell him no, Rivera lifted her gown and sexually abused her with his fingers, the suit alleges.

The lawsuit said the woman reported the sexual assault to a hospital social worker, Providence quality department and Providence risk management. She was told “there is no need to talk to authorities, we’ll take care of this,” the suit claims.

“Plaintiff assumed that Providence would terminate Defendant Martinez-Rivera, report the sexual assault event to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, report this incident to the Texas Board of Nursing and report Defendant Martinez-Rivera’s sexual assault to local authorities,” the suit states. “Defendant Providence took no such action and instead has simply covered up this sexual assault.”

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