KREM 2 uncovers another rape at Eastern State Hospital

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by KREM.com & Ashley Korslien

KREM.com

Posted on November 1, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 8:08 PM

MEDICAL LAKE—KREM 2 News uncovered another rape of a female patient at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake.

KREM 2's Ashley Korslien dug into the story.  The victim's name has been withheld for her privacy.

Amedee and Emmett Marx’s daughter is 29 years old and suffers from developmental disabilities.  They say she has the mentality of a child.  Her parents say she lost her child-like innocence three years ago when she was raped by another patient at the hospital.

They say the rape occurred inside their daughter’s room on January 9th, 2008.  Court documents show another patient named Jesse Vasquez showed up at her doorway.  She told him “no” and to “go away,” but Vasquez refused and raped her.

Vasquez plead guilty as part of a plea bargain with the state.

The Marx family is suing the Department of Social and Health Services.  Attorney David Moody says the rape could have been prevented because the hospital staff knew all about Vasquez’s violent history.

In court documents, the Department of Social and Health Services claims it did not know Vasquez was a felon and that he did not engage in “overly aggressive sexual behavior” or pose a danger to female patients.

Moody says doctors ignored the warning signs from Vasquez and allowed him “Class-A” privileges to roam free on hospital grounds.

“(The victim) needed protection,” David Moody said.  “She needed to be kept safe.  Eastern State Hospital failed to do so in a big way.”

The state denies Vasquez roamed free.  The Department of Social and Health Services states in court records that Vasquez was restricted to the men’s ward because he had consensual sex with the victim a few weeks prior to the rape.  They say his restrictions were not because of his “aggressive volatile behavior.”

Moody admits there was a prior sexual relationship between the victim and Vasquez, but says it was not consensual.
 
This is not the first rape case at Eastern State Hospital.  In 2004, a suicidal patient was raped in a laundry room by a male nurse.  Guylin Johnston was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.  Moody also represented the victim in that case.

Moody says the hospital also knew Johnston was a danger to patients and allowed him to continue working there.  The victim won a nearly $3 million dollar claim against Eastern State Hospital, which is the largest abuse settlement ever paid out by the hospital.

The Department of Social and Health Services could not comment directly to KREM 2 about the current claim filed by the Marx family, but they did send a statement that says “…wards are not lock-down facilities.  Patients in psychiatric hospital wards are not inmates and they do not reside in locked cells.  While we do our best to limit inappropriate sexual contact or physical assaults between patients, there is no way we can absolutely prevent sexual contact among them.”

Moody says he would like to see the DSHS look into the camera and tell the public that this is going to stop at Eastern State Hospital.

“To have one institution in our state that continues to fall short, where rapes continue to happen, is an atrocity,” Moody said.

No matter what happens in the case, Amedee and Emmett say the rape has lasting effects on their daughter.

They say their daughter is still living in the same hospital, but has nightmares and is struggling with memories of what happened to her. 

They say they hope to move forward as a family and look toward a future filled with healing.

“I think that, with significant help over a fairly long period of time, she can lead a reasonably normal life,” Emmett Marx said.

Mediation between the Marx family and DSHS was scheduled for Wednesday but has been postponed until December.

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