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Hospital Ignored Rape Allegations, Allowed Patients to be at Risk

There had been numerous allegations of sexual abuse at Illinois’ largest psychiatric hospital by the time that the Chicago Tribune investigated and uncovered a systemic problem. Riveredge Hospital, where many wards of the state are treated, has been leaving sexual predators unguarded in spite of allegations about at least 10 mentally disabled children being assaulted in the past three years. When the Chicago Tribune began prodding into the assault reports, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services last week decided to stop admitting wards into the hospital, a severe penalty for the hospital’s severe mistakes. Regarding one assault that occurred last year, Riveredge staff noted that there were drops of blood in a bathroom where a 19-year-old patient claimed that another teenager had raped him. Hospital officials did not send that victim to an emergency room nor did they report the incident to police. Even more striking, the alleged attacker had been admitted with the precaution that other patients needed to be protected from him for risk of sexual assault; so the staff had reason to know that he might attack another patient. Even after that rape was reported to staff, the hospital still failed to provide a one-on-one aide for the alleged rapist, as was required. There is no word yet whether any lawsuits will be filed in connection with the hospital’s alleged negligence. To read the full story, click here.