Lawsuit claims Minn. hospital failed to protect teen patient from sexual assault

University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview in Minneapolis is facing a lawsuit after a developmentally disabled teen was allegedly sexually assaulted twice while in the hospital's emergency department, according to the Star Tribune.


The teenage patient was in the emergency department when Jamal Strong, another patient in the ED, entered her room and fondled her, according to the report. The attack is shown on security footage. Staff eventually arrived and removed Mr. Strong, but the lawsuit alleges he then returned and continued to assault the girl another time.

Mr. Strong has since pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault, but he has not been sentenced since questions about his mental ability remain, according to the Star Tribune.

In suing the hospital, the victim's parents say University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview failed to protect their daughter when she was a patient. They are seeking compensation for suffering and additional treatment and also want to see changes at the hospital to prevent similar attacks.

In a statement provided to Becker's, a Fairview spokeswoman said patient safety is a priority at Fairview.

"Keeping patients safe is of the utmost importance to us. Despite our best efforts, incidents can occur, and we are sincerely sorry when they do," the statement reads. "While we are not able to talk about private patient information or specific events, we assure you that safety concerns are immediately investigated, we look for ways to improve our procedures, and we take additional actions as circumstances warrant. We continually strive to improve our clinical care and some recent improvements include increasing patient monitoring, ensuring the most appropriate patient placement based on patient and clinical needs whenever possible, enhancing how we use video monitoring of patients and improving staff training."

The statement also notes that Fairview is "one of the largest behavioral health services providers in the five-state area" and that the system is "committed to continually improving our services to do all we can to support the complex behavioral health needs of the communities we serve."

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