Guardian claims mentally disabled man was attacked in pyschiatric ward

Kelly Holleran Aug. 11, 2010, 11:15am

The guardian of a mentally disabled person blames a Belleville hospital for allowing the man to be repeatedly raped at its facility.

A lawsuit was filed July 23 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against St. Elizabeth's Hospital and an unknown person identified only as "Criminal Joe."

The guardian claims he brought the mentally disabled person, who is severely retarded and has the mental capacity of a six year old, to St. Elizabeth's in June 2009 because of behavior problems.

When the guardian dropped the mentally disabled man off at the hospital, St. Elizabeth's promised to provide him with quality care and treatment and assured the guardian it would provide appropriate oversight and place the man into a psychiatric ward, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges St. Elizabeth's placed the man into a room in the psychiatric ward with a rapist and failed to supervise the men, the suit states.

"St. Elizabeth's Hospital allowed John Doe to be repeatedly sodomized and raped by Criminal Joe while another patient watched," the complaint says.

Hospital spokesperson Kelly Barbeau declined to comment on pending litigation.

However, she said the hospital was investigating the incident. She also said the hospital was committed to a safe environment for patients and staff.

The alleged repeated incidents of rape caused John Doe to sustain severe and permanent injuries, to suffer severe mental anguish and intense bodily pain and to incur medical costs, according to the complaint.

In his four-count suit, the guardian alleges negligence, failure to protect and negligent infliction of emotional distress against St. Elizabeth's and negligence against the rapist.

The guardian seeks a judgment of more than $200,000, plus costs.

Chris Kolker of Kolker Law Offices in Belleville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-381.

More News