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Nurse case resonates in other court

Published Oct. 8, 2005

How pervasive is the Bruce Alan Young rape case? Consider this: It became an issue Thursday in an unrelated civil trial.

Squaring off in court were Kathy and Donald McCormick, Citrus Memorial Hospital and Dr. Jerry Cox. Mrs. McCormick says she received faulty medical treatment at Citrus Memorial's emergency room four years ago; she's suing the hospital and physician for more than $15,000 in damages.

Young, the former Citrus Memorial nurse accused of sexually molesting anesthestized patients in Citrus Memorial's recovery room, was not involved in the case.

Still, lawyers wanted to make sure recent publicity about Young, the hospital and the sexual allegations wouldn't cause jurors to look at this case any differently than they would otherwise.

So they took 24 prospective jurors _ one by one _ into a courtroom and asked them about the case. All said they were familiar with the facts. And all said they could put their thoughts aside and concentrate on the matters at hand.

"They all said they would not let it affect their deliberations in this case," said David Best, an attorney for the plaintiffs. "It really wasn't a problem."

Lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendants, as well as Circuit Judge Patricia Thomas, agreed that the jurors should be questioned in private.

"We didn't want to taint the whole (jury) panel," Best explained.

Eventually the proceedings assembled a jury of five women and two men with two alternates.

Coincidentally, Best and his partner, Dutch Anderson, are representing a bevy of clients who claim either that Young molested them or that they should receive financial compensation because they never will know whether Young, who was their nurse, attacked them.