A man now facing at least 18 charges of rape and sexual abuse could have been stopped much earlier if complaints from the first victim had been heeded, attorneys claim.
In June, a 94-year-old woman told the hospital she’d been raped by a man working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, but the man was allowed to continue working there, and abused many more patients in the process.
Adeladilew Mekonen, 34, was arrested September 14, facing charges of rape and unlawful penetration, according to KOIN 6 News and the Oregonian Live. Both media reports only say he is from Portland, Oregon, but Breitbart reports that the man is actually a refugee immigrant from Ethiopia.
As a nurse assistant, Mekonen was responsible for care and personal hygiene of the patients.
A 94-year-old patient had first filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office in June, stating he had raped her, and the hospital had placed Mekonen on administrative leave for a time, but allowed him to return to work after the allegations couldn’t be proved.
In September, an 87-year-old woman came forward saying she had been raped as well, and filed a $1 million lawsuit against the hospital. Her attorney, Greg Kafoury said, “If there would have been different procedures in place, they would have caught this guy in a hurry.”
“When you get an accusation as serious as this, you’re really supposed to do something about it,” Kafoury said. “You’re not supposed to look for the first door out and try to look for a way to say it never happened. He was allowed the same access to women alone in their room, elderly women often medicated. Same access that he had prior to being accused.”
Mekonen was working at the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, and was licensed as a CNA in February 2015. According to state records, he graduated from the Caregiver Training Institute in October 2015, and has no prior history of discipline. He had just started working at the hospital in May 2016, one month before the first complaint was filed. Following his arrest on September 14, he was terminated from the hospital.
He is being held at the Washington County Jail on a $250,000 bond.
KOIN 6 News reported that the women filing charges range in age from 27 to 94. Breitbart reports that online records show Mekonen is now facing charges from 18 victims.
Breitbart also confirmed that Mekonen told a detective he first came to the United States in 2011 from Ethiopia.
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