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Psychiatric patient rapes another at St. Joseph's in Tampa

TAMPA — One psychiatric patient raped another at St. Joseph's Hospital on Thursday, police said Friday.

The male patient entered a female patient's room, forced her to the floor in the bathroom and raped her, the woman reported.

Tampa police arrested Thomas Kelly Bolduc, 39, on two counts of sexual battery.

"We take patient safety very, very seriously. It's our top priority," said Lorraine Lutton, chief operating officer at St. Joseph's. "We will evaluate this incident and determine if there are any steps we need to take to strengthen our security."

Bolduc's hospital room was across from that of the victim, police say. She told police her assailant told her he would kill her if she reported the assault to anyone. Staff members in the psychiatric ward make rounds every 15 minutes, and Bolduc was in place at each check, Lutton said.

Staff members did not hear screams or a struggle. They learned of the assault shortly afterward, when the woman reported it to them, Lutton said.

The hospital then called police, who took Bolduc into custody.

Because of patient confidentiality rules, Lutton could not say why Bolduc was hospitalized or whether he had shown threatening or violent behavior in the hospital. The hospital has policies for such behavior, including restraints, isolation and close observation.

Bolduc has an extensive criminal history, including a 1995 incident in which he was charged with attempted murder after police said he choked his mother with a phone cord until she blacked out. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

At St. Joseph's, because the woman is considered a vulnerable adult, the hospital also notified the state Department of Children and Families.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration, which regulates hospitals, also is investigating, a spokeswoman said.

Other hospitals have had problems in the psychiatric ward this year. This summer, two psychiatric patients at Tampa General Hospital killed themselves.

After those deaths, federal regulators threatened to strip Medicare funding from the hospital. Tampa General made several policy changes to comply with federal standards.

Times staff researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Psychiatric patient rapes another at St. Joseph's in Tampa 12/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 12:02pm]
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