The Charlotte Observer
Two patients are suing a Colorado hospital system after they say they were drugged, sexually assaulted and photographed by a nurse, according to a class action lawsuit filed Dec. 20.
About four terabytes of data, including 700,000 photos and 65,000 hours of video, found on the nurse’s cellphone relate to his “drugging, sexual touching (and) sexual penetration” of patients dating back to 2016, according to the lawsuit.
The nurse, Christopher Lambros, 61, who was employed at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, Colorado, was arrested Oct. 25 on a warrant for three sexual assault counts, according to the Grand Junction Police Department. Grand Junction is about 240 miles southwest of Denver.
Detectives began investigating Lambros after another hospital employee reported seeing him take a photo of a patient’s genitals July 9, according to the arrest warrant.
Lambros drugged victims before assaults, lawsuit says
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of two of Lambros’ alleged victims, says Lambros administered medication to make them unconscious before he exposed them naked and sexually touched them while he recorded himself. The plaintiffs were not named in the lawsuit.
Daniel P. Rubinstein, district attorney in Mesa County, Colorado, said in a statement Lambros has been charged in connection to incidents relating to two victims, but there are four victims total, three of whom have been identified.
“The case is set for a return in January, as we are still investigating,” the statement says. “We cannot comment on what evidence we have, and also cannot speculate on what we may find.”
Lambros drugged and assaulted one of the victims June 24 and again June 25 while in the intensive care unit, the lawsuit says. When the woman awoke from her unconscious state July 2, she had “foggy memories” of his misconduct, the lawsuit says.
She began to tell people around her — including hospital employees and family members — that Lambros was a “bad man,” according to the lawsuit. She did not learn about the alleged assaults until months after she was released from the hospital.
“(She) has suffered severe emotional distress because of the assault and invasion of her privacy,” the lawsuit says. She is still paying about $905 per month toward a $32,000 medical bill from her stay at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
Lambros assaulted the second victim July 9 and took photos and videos, according to the lawsuit. An employee saw him photographing the patient and lying with his head on her “bare stomach,” the lawsuit says.
In one video from June 24 that investigators discovered on Lambros’ cellphone, he can be heard whispering into the camera, “Don’t ever get rid of these videos. You need to keep them forever. This is your Dexter collection.”
“Dexter” is a crime television series about a serial killer and blood spatter expert.
Hospital system failed to protect patients, lawsuit says
The hospital system’s negligence contributed to Lambros’ ability to drug and sexually assault patients while employed at St. Mary’s Medical Center, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit says hospital staff should have been aware of Lambros’ use of sedative medication, which he was not authorized to administer to patients, and other employees should have noticed indications of sexual assault on the patient’s bodies, including bleeding, bruising and redness.
Additionally, the hospital should have noticed his actions on surveillance cameras placed in patient rooms, the lawsuit says.
“The sheer volume of data collected by Lambros shows that he engaged in sexual misconduct and invasions of privacy related to his patients on a regular basis…,” the lawsuit says. “Given the frequency at which Lambros engaged in these acts, his conduct was or should have been apparent to Defendants St. Mary’s, SCL Health, and Intermountain.”
St. Mary’s is a subsidiary of SCL Health and Intermountain Healthcare, which merged in April, according to the lawsuit.
In a statement, SCL Health/Intermountain Healthcare, said that it placed Lambros on administrative leave after allegations against him were reported. He was fired from St. Mary’s Medical Center after his arrest.
“What this former nurse is accused of is reprehensible and goes against everything we believe and value at St. Mary’s Medical Center,” Bryan Johnson, president of St. Mary’s Medical Center, said in a statement. “Patients put their trust in us and should feel safe in our care. We are working closely with law enforcement to protect our patients from those who intend to cause harm.”
The healthcare system said it was contacting “known victims” directly and had a call center set up for patients with questions or concerns.
Plaintiffs suffered financial and emotional losses, lawsuit says
Lambros’ alleged victims suffered losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish and emotional distress, the lawsuit says. The plaintiffs are seeking damages in an amount yet to be determined, including pre- and post-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that there may be more victims and asked anyone who was a patient at the hospital and may have been accessible to Lambros between 2012 and 2022 to contact Rathod | Mohamedbhai LLC.
Lambros is being held on a $1 million bond, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.