Alleged rape shakes hospital security

Fairview said it’s reviewing its security policies after a report at one of its hospitals.

Yelena Kibasova

After a rape, victims often go to the hospital for medical help. There the victim escapes the rapist and the crime location.

But a hospital might not be a place of refuge when a rape occurs within hospital walls.

In January a woman reported that the father of her newborn had raped her at University Medical Center, Fairview Riverside.

On Jan. 19 the woman was staying at the hospital in a nonpatient room while the hospital treated her 4-week-old infant.

Police charged a man with raping her in the room twice within a 14-hour period, according to the police report.

Fairview Health Services issued a statement saying it is taking the matter seriously.

According to the statement, “Safety of our patients, visitors and staff is a top priority. We are providing full cooperation with police in this investigation.”

In the statement, Fairview said, “We’re reviewing our own safety and security policies in light of this incident. For obvious reasons, we won’t discuss specific security measures or tactics in place at this time.”

Jennifer Amundson, communications consultant for Fairview Health Services, said the hospital has security around the clock.

“We do take additional steps in the overnight hours,” she said.

Robert Provost, public relations manager at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, said North Memorial has security personnel present throughout the entire hospital.

Employees of Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park said they would not comment on their security measures because the information is not available to the public.

Those affiliated with the Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education said the location of the rape is not as important as the crime itself.

Jessica Bills, an intern at the Aurora Center, said sexual violence occurs in many locations.

“I think that rape happens everywhere, unfortunately,” she said. “I am not sure that the location is as disturbing as the actual act.”

Bills, who is also a child psychology and family violence prevention senior, said she doesn’t think the hospital is to blame for the recent crime.

“(The perpetrator) is the one that needs to be held accountable for his own actions,” she said.

Aurora Center Director Jamie Tiedemann said it is hard to tell what pushes someone to rape.

“It is extremely troubling that there is that much rage and anger to do it in a health care facility,” Tiedemann said.

Bills said 90 percent of rapes are acquaintance rapes, like the recent allegations at Fairview Riverside.

“Sexual violence is sexual violence,” Tiedemann said.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s with someone they know or not.”