Minn. Hospital Sexual Assault Victim Suing for Lack of Patient Supervision

The attacker was suffering from heroin withdrawals and was considered dangerous.

Minn. Hospital Sexual Assault Victim Suing for Lack of Patient Supervision

Seven additional incidents were reported in the past eight months citing lack of supervision.

A former patient who was sexually assaulted by another patient while being treated at a Minnesota hospital is suing the facility, citing a lack of supervision by staff members.

Cindy Jarvi was a patient at the University of Minnesota-Fairview Riverside Medical Center, the largest hospital in Minnesota, when she was sexually assaulted in her hospital bed in April 2015.

The assailant was suffering from heroin withdrawals and hallucinations. Federal records listed her as exhibiting dangerous behavior and an imminent threat to herself or others if not properly monitored.

Video surveillance shows the woman entering Jarvi’s room.

“I opened up my eyes and I see an individual, I had no idea who, sitting at the bottom of my bed,” recalls Jarvi in an interview with KSTP. “I’m thinking, ‘How do I get out of here?’ I can’t.”

Jarvi says she was fondled by her attacker. “By the second time she came around the bed the second time and crawled into the bed, at this point I knew if I can’t get someone in here, this is not going to end well.”

She was able to call in nurses and asked them to call the police. The nurses said it was against hospital policy.

The U.S. Department of Human Services (DHS) determined the hospital did not have adequate policies in place for monitoring high-risk patients. A hospital director said that the hospital had no policy whatsoever.

Multiple Incidents Put Hospital Under Scrutiny

After the assault, the hospital was mandated by the federal government to make stronger supervision policies.

However, in November 2016, a 15-year-old developmentally disabled patient was sexually assaulted by another patient with mental health issues who was unsupervised on the emergency room floor. The assailant was removed from the victim’s room, only to gain access to the room five minutes later and assault her once again, according to KSTP.

The victim’s family is also suing the hospital. “This man is able to attack this child for almost half an hour without anyone properly responding — there is no way anyone could have been watching the video closely,” said Jeffrey Storms, the victim’s attorney.

The hospital is currently being surveyed by The Joint Commission. A Commission spokesperson said this is not a routine survey; a typical hospital is surveyed every three years.

Several other incidents have been reported in the past eight months alone, including one in which four mentally ill teens escaped from “secure” areas on two separate occasions in April.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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