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Supervisor tells of investigating nurse

More details emerged Wednesday concerning what Citrus Memorial Hospital did, and did not do, when a patient accused nurse Bruce Alan Young of sexual assault in August 1994.

For the first time, the information came from the woman who conducted the investigation: Director of Nursing Laura Dixon. Her deposition, given under oath Wednesday morning, marks the only time Dixon has publicly discussed the steps she took.

The testimony is expected to be helpful as the victim of that August attack prepares for an Oct. 30 trial date in her lawsuit against Citrus Memorial. She is one of dozens of women who have filed, or are considering filing, lawsuits against the hospital in connection with the Young case. Young pleaded guilty to sexually battering seven women and is serving a 17-year prison term.

More than a month before police arrested Young on Oct. 3, a female patient told Dr. Gayle Burch that she thought Young had fondled and kissed her during her hospital stay Aug. 19.

Burch passed the information to Dixon when the two met in a hospital hallway about 6 p.m. Aug. 24. Dixon took notes on a magazine cover and promised to investigate. However, she also noted that Burch told the patient her recollections probably were hallucinations stemming from anesthesia.

Dixon said she first spoke to Young's supervisor, Layne Blackstone, who is assistant director of nursing for perioperative services. She asked about Young's performance, which Blackstone said was good, and whether there were any complaints against his conduct, to which Blackstone said "no."

Blackstone has testified that she does not recall three nurses telling her that Young had threatened to sodomize another nurse.

Dixon asked whether Young was on duty alone the night that Burch's patient said she was attacked. Blackstone checked the work log and found that Young was on duty, but that other nurses also would have been in the area.

Dixon said she told Blackstone the patient's name and the nature of the complaint. However, Blackstone, testifying earlier in the day, said Dixon did not provide that information. She said Dixon told her not to pursue an investigation of her own.

Dixon did not interview Jean Steady or Kelly Darling, two nurses from the operating room who worked with Young the night in question. Both women testified Wednesday that they knew nothing about the complaint _ until after Young was arrested in October.

After her conversation with Burch, Dixon said, she approached Fred Stone, the hospital's director of human resources, and reviewed Young's personnel file. She also discussed the matter with Pam Hughes, the associate director of nursing, whom she called her "right-hand person."

Dixon saw Young's positive evaluations and found no negative letters or reports. After consulting with Stone, she decided to confront Young. They met about 10 p.m. Aug. 26.

"I told Bruce the conversation that I had with Dr. Burch," Dixon testified. "He said, "No, absolutely not' " about the allegations.

His story: He touched the woman's breast when moving electrodes for an electrocardiogram and he touched her vagina when replacing a sanitary napkin.

Dixon said she told Young that, in the future, he should not be alone when carrying out sensitive tasks on female patients.

Dixon said she didn't pursue the case further because the victim never lodged a formal complaint. Dixon said she thought the victim was satisfied that her recollections were the confused results of anesthesia.

The Board of Nursing has charged Dixon with violating state law by not reporting the complaint to law enforcement or a state regulatory agency. Dixon has agreed to enter a settlement agreement that calls for her to pay a $300 fine.